Benjamin Dupé composer & stage director


Born in Normandy in 1976, Benjamin Dupé studied music at the Nantes Conservatoire (guitar and composing), then at the Paris CNSM (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique / Higher National Conservatory for Music). He was taught by guitarist Alberto Ponce, composer and improviser Alain Savouret and stage producer Georges Werler.

After he graduated from the Paris Conservatoire in 1999, he chose to devote himself entirely to musical creation, developing a polyvalence in the skills he uses : instrumental and electroacoustic writing, improvisation and performance, realization and programming of technological devices… Being close to the living performance scene also enables him to question the representation of contemporary music and invent new forms distinct from the traditional concert.

With such issues in mind, he co-founded in 2000, with composers Benjamin de la Fuente and Samuel Sighicelli, a “musical invention group” named Sphota ; together they created seven shows. They were invited by contemporary music festivals (Musica in Strasbourg, März Muzik in Berlin), theatres (MC2 in Grenoble, Le Parvis in Tarbes), concert halls (Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, National Auditorium in Madrid), and made artist residents at Bonlieu scène nationale in Annecy from 2004 to 2006 ; in 2010, Sphota released the CD Zemlia (The Earth) under the Radio France label “Signature”.

As a composer, Benjamin Dupé was commissioned by the State, various national centres of musical creation such as « La Muse en Circuit », GMEA, GMEM, INA / GRM, Radio France.

He also worked for stage producers (i.e. Declan Donnellan for Le Cid at Avignon Festival in 1998, Renaud-Marie Leblanc in 2010 for Erich Von Stroheim by Christophe Pellet at Le Merlan scène nationale in Marseilles) or choreographers. Thus he collaborated with choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang on several dance shows :  in 2007 they created A bout de souffle, with elderly people, at La Friche la Belle de mai in Marseilles, or for the 2008 Marseilles Festival, it was Au bois dormant, a show about autism, with the collaboration of writer Marie Desplechin and stage producer Patrice Chéreau.

In 2009, he created Comme je l’entends (As I hear it), a solo performance dealing with the issue of the perception of contemporary music by the audience. Weaving its own musical creations into recorded comments made by “secular” listeners, this “autobioscenic performance”, created at the Théâtre des Salins, Martigues scène nationale, has been shown since at various contemporary music festivals and scènes nationales.

In 2010, he composed for seven instruments a radio version of Comme je l’entends, recorded by musicians among whom Pascal Contet and Bruno Chevillon. Broadcast on France Musique and France Culture, this piece was distinguished at Prix Italia in Turin (international radio creation competition).

In 2012, he created Fantôme, un léger roulement, et sur la peau tendue qu’est notre tympan (Ghost, light rolling, and on the taut skin of our eardrum), a show played on the opening night of the Les Musiques Festival in Marseilles. Performed by a group of remote controlled mechanical instruments and resonant objects, freely inspired by the myth of Orpheus, this piece for an audience of fifty people – made comfortable amid a stage designed musical device – offers them a sensorial experiment in the wonderful and ghostly.

In 2014, he creates, in two steps, Il se trouve que les oreilles n’ont pas de paupières (Ears have no lids, as it happens), after Pascal Quignard’s book La Haine de la musique (The hatred of music). A prelude form, with stage actor Pierre Baux and altist Garth Knox, was first played at Avignon Festival. A final version of the project, with the same actor, string quartet Quatuor Tana and Ircam electronics was played in the autumn at the Phénix in Valenciennes, then on tour…

Since 2012, Benjamin Dupé has been associated composer at Le Phénix “scène nationale” in Valenciennes, within the framework of a residence supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sacem. As a composer and musical theater stage director, he is now associated artist at Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil – a French national dramatic center.

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photo © Agnès Mellon

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