François Sarhan

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François Sarhan
François Sarhan and Jan Svankmajer in Prague.jpg
Born (1972-09-30) 30 September 1972 (age 46)
Rouen, France
Known formusic, collages, and animated films

François Sarhan (born 30 September 1972) is a French composer, installation artist, visual artist and writer.


Born in Rouen, Sarhan studied composition with Guy Reibel, Philippe Manoury, Brian Ferneyhough in Paris, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, from 1996 to 2000. Sarhan is known for his mixed and ambiguous works, which cross the accepted artforms, often confronting stop-motion animation, performance, text that he realizes himself. He has achieved international recognition over recent years, thanks to his collaboration with William Kentridge, and his solo shows like Lâchez Tout!. His works have performed and broadcast in more than 20 countries and he has received commissions from, among others, Percussions de Strasbourg, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherche, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France.

His output ranges from instrumental music, which typically employs the voice of the performer and electronic elements, to video installations, movies and shows, like The Last Lighthouse Keepers (2013). Other works of particular note include l'Nfer (2005–2006), written a narrator and 8 musicians, based on an autobiographic narrative written by Sarhan; the Encyclopaedia (2008–2014), a multimedia and long-term project which aims to build an alternative scientific description of the world, via collages, stop motion animation, music and books.

He was the resident composer at Arsenal concert hall, Metz, (2005–2006), in Orléans (2008–2011).

Since 2014 he has taught composition at the UDK, Berlin. He currently lives in Berlin.

Awards and honours[edit]

Sarhan refuses all awards and honours, because "music and art has nothing to do with this monkey business"


  • Wandering Rocks, for four electric guitars and 24 loudspeakers, 2014 (40')
  • Zentral Park, for 8 musicians and electronics, 2014 (30')
  • Lâchez Tout!, music theatre show, including a feature movie, 5 musicians, 2013–2014 (70')
  • Encyclopaedia, 2008–2014, multimedia
  • Telegrams from the Nose, in collaboration with William Kentridge 2007–2008 (30')
  • A King Lear, chamber opera, libretto by Jacques Roubaud, 2010 (90')
  • Homework, for six musicians, 2009 (60')
  • L'Nfer, for 8 musicians, 2005–2006 (65')
  • Kyrielle du Sentiment des Choses, chamber opera, 2002 (65')


  • La Musique au chateau de Chambord, (2014)
  • Wandering Rocks, for four electric guitars and 24 loudspeakers, 2014 (40')
  • Glaçon in Oslo (2011)
  • Le Grand Crwth, (2002)


  • François Sarhan: Wandering Rocks – performed by Zwerm guitar quartet. Lamuse Records, 2014
  • François Sarhan: Pop Up – l'Nfer and Orloff performed by Ictus Ensemble. Sismal Records, 2012
  • François Sarhan: Hell (a small detail) – pieces performed by ensemble Sic, Rosamonde Quartet. Zig Zag Records, 2013

External links / references[edit]