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“Le Livres des Claviers” by Philippe Manoury


“Le Livres des Claviers” by Philippe Manoury

Performed by Sharif Mamoun & Jeff Stern

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Robert van Sice Signature (M125)

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Medium hard. This is the most expressive mallet of the series and is an ideal choice for the modern marimba repertoire.


Le Livres des Claviers (1987-1988)

The book includes six pieces of keyboards, relatively short, for the various sets of percussion keyboards. Techniques related to keyboards were quite widely developed during the twentieth century. If we compare the use of the xylophone in Debussy to that in Messiaen and Boulez, there is a breakthrough in front, bringing it (marimba and xylomarimba included) to a true solo role. However, in recent years, techniques for continuous playing with four sticks has grown further opportunities. It is not to develop a technique, but to make musical patterns that were impossible even a few years ago: polyphony, and the succession of agreements of different kinds in a certain speed. This greatly motivated my choice for keyboards. On the other hand, the construction of new acoustic instruments like sixxens allowed me to address cases of new figures in the sense that the notion of height is no longer dominant, or rather, becomes more complex.

Part II: Duo de marimbas (one player per instrument)
Twenty-six sequences composed this piece, ranging from amorphous structures (simple glissandi), through intermediate states (broken lines but directional) to sequences completely polarized around the center. I focused on the music, made of dots connected by lines, a game “cast” can simulate legato phrasing by the high speed with which certain features are to be played.

  – Philippe Manoury


Born in Tulle in 1952, Philippe Manoury studied the piano (with Pierre Sancan) then, at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, composition (with Gérard Condé and Max Deutsch) as well as harmony and counterpoint. Finally, at the Paris Conservatory he completed his training with Claude Ballif (musical analysis), and Ivo Malec then Michel Philippot (composition). From the age of 19 he was active in the main centres of contemporary music performance (Royan, La Rochelle, Donaueschingen, London, etc.), the premiere in 1974 of Cryptophonos by Claude Helffer drew him to the attention of audiences. He was resident in Brazil from 1978 to 1981 where he held classes and gave lectures in various universities (Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador).

On his return to France in 1981 Philippe Manoury received an invitation from IRCAM, and since then he has continually worked there as a researcher, a composer and a teacher. In association with the mathematician Miller Puckette, his research has been focussed on the interaction, in real time, of acoustic instruments and new technologies linked to musical IT. From this work came Sonus ex machina, a cycle of interactive pieces for various instruments: Jupiter, Pluton, La Partition du Ciel et de l’Enfer and Neptune.

From 1983 to 1987 he was in charge of pedagogy for the Ensemble Intercontemporain, and taught composition and electronic music at the Lyons Conservatory from 1987 to 1997. He has also held many composition seminars in France and abroad (United States, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Canada). From 1995 to 2001 he was composer in residence with the Orchestre de Paris, and then, from 2001 to 2003, for the National Theatre in Orléans, having, from 1998 to 2000, directed the European Music Academy of the Festival of Aix en Provence. Since the autumn of 2004 he has been teaching at the University of California in San Diego.

Manoury’s music has been performed in many leading cities around the world (Amsterdam, Berlin, Bratislava, Helsinki, Moscow, Oslo, Saint Petersburg, Tokyo, Vienna) and has been admired by leading personalities, such as Pierre Boulez, the dedicatee and first conductor of Sound and Fury at the head of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, and conductor of several of his works; Esa-Pekka Salonen, who, conducting the Orchestre de Paris, gave the first performance of Noon (2003); Kent Nagano, who, as director of the Bayerische Staatsorchester, conducted the world premiere of Abgrund (2007). His ensemble music has been commissioned and premiered by eminent groups such as the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Identités remarquables, in 2005, Paris), Ensemble Modern (Strange ritual, in 2005, Japan) and the Orchestre Poitou-Charente (Terra ignota, in 2007, Niort and Paris).

In his recent work Philippe Manoury has shown that the voice is a form of expression he has especially liked to cultivate: as a solo surrounded by instruments (Cruel Spirals, in 2007), within a vocal ensemble (On-Iron in 2006 and Trakl Gedichte in 2007 were the result of a collaboration with Accentus) and in operatic form (60e Parallèle, in 1998 at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris; KÖ, based on Kafka’s The Trial, in 2001 at the Paris Opera; La Frontière, in 2003 at the National Theatre in Orléans).

The SACEM has awarded Philippe Manoury three prizes: Prize for chamber music (1976), Prize for best musical production (for Jupiter, 1988) and Grand Prix for symphonic music (1999). After receiving the Grand Prix for composition from the City of Paris 1998, he was awarded the Grand Prix of the SACD (2001) for his opera KÖ, the Prize of the French musical press (2001), and the ‘Prince Pierre Ier de Monaco’ Prize (2002).


Sharif Mamoun is a diverse percussionist who has an equal passion for performance and education. Mr. Mamoun attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Master’s Degree in Music Performance, while under the tutelage of Eduardo Leandro, Ayano Kataoka, and Thom Hannum. He was fortunate enough to receive the Chancellor’s Fine Arts Scholarship Award as well as become a nominee for the Howard Lebow Memorial Scholarship in his tenure at the university.

Sharif has performed at numerous venues and locations throughout the country, in both the concert and marching percussion idioms. He has given one of the first-ever performances of Alejandro Viñao’s marimba duo, Book of Grooves, with Ayano Kataoka at the McCormick Marimba Festival 2012 in Tampa, Florida, and has also given the World Premier of Singing at Dawn, a work by Alice Parker. He has performed alongside top artists such as Doug Perkins, So Percussion, and Percussion Group Cincinnati at the performance of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit, as a part of Make Music New York 2011. Sharif was apart of the debut concert of the 1st Annual Chosen Vale Percussion Seminar alongside marimba virtuoso and renowned pedagogue, Michael Burritt. He has performed in masterclasses for Robert Van Sice, Matthew Duvall, Kunihiko Komori, and So Percussion. He was also a performer on the newly produced recording of JLA’s Inuksuit. Additionally, Sharif has performed with the Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps, as well as the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, where he was named percussion member of the year in 2009.

As a music educator, Sharif has taught and arranged for numerous band programs throughout the Northeast, and has also taught some of the finest drum and bugle corps in the world. In 2010, Sharif was on staff with the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps, and is currently on staff with the Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps.

Percussionist Jeff Stern performs across the US as a soloist and with ensembles large and small. He has appeared with some of today’s most celebrated artists, including eighth blackbird and So Percussion, and collaborated with composers such as John Luther Adams, Lukas Ligeti, and Stuart Saunders Smith.

Recent highlights include an artist residency at the Yellow Barn Music Festival in Vermont, showcase concerts at the McCormick Marimba Festival in Florida, and featured solo performances with the Boston New Music Initiative. This season, Jeff has been performing as the newest member of Baltimore’s Sonar New Music Ensemble and attended Yale’s Norfolk New Music Workshop in the summer of 2013, where he premiered several chamber works by up-and-coming composers.

Desiring to connect to larger and more diverse audiences, Jeff frequently participates in outdoor presentations of John Luther Adams’ large-scale work, Inuksuit for 9 to 99 percussionists. In 2011, he was a member of Adams’ ensemble that earned a place on New York Magazine’s Top Ten Classical Performances list. Subsequently, he recorded the piece on Cantaloupe Records with a release scheduled for 2013.

As an educator, Jeff currently teaches inner-city students at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s youth program, OrchKids, where he established the organization’s first percussion department. From 2010-2012, he worked with the Spirit of America Band program on Cape Cod instructing various ensembles, running sectional rehearsals, and teaching private lessons. In Fall 2013, he will join the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory as the Director of their percussion program.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied with Ayano Kataoka and Thomas Hannum. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in percussion performance at the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of marimba virtuoso Robert van Sice.

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