François Sarhan

(b. 30 September 1972, Rouen).

French composer of mostly stage, chamber and choral works that have been performed throughout Europe.

Mr. Sarhan studied cello with Xavier Gagnepain at the Conservatoire à rayonnement régional de Boulogne-Billancourt from 1985–93 and aesthetics and music history with Brigitte François-Sappey at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris from 1992–94, where he later studied analysis with Alain Louvier from 1996–99 and composition with Guy Reibel from 1996–2000. He also attended the Cursus Annuel de Composition et Informatique Musicale at IRCAM in Paris in 1997–98, as well as seminars on poetics by Jacques Roubaud at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris from 1997–2001.

Among his honours is the Prix de la Ville de Bruxelles-Maïs in the RADIOPHON'iC sound poetry competition in Belgium (2003, for Who um). His music has been performed in Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the UK.

He is also active in other positions. He has written numerous articles on contemporary music, as well as the book Histoire de la Musique (2002, Flammarion). He has served as artistic director of the collective vocal–instrumental ensemble CRWTH since 2000, which is active in the performance of multimedia projects.

He taught counterpoint, harmony, rhythm, space, and text and music relationships at IRCAM from 1998–2002 and has taught analysis, composition and new music at the Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg since 1999.





Nervure (ballet, choreography by Laurence Vandemotaele), clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion, 1993–94

Contraintes (musical spectacle, texts by Jacques Roubaud, Jacques Jouet, Raymond Queneau, Samuel Beckett), 2 female actors, 1999–2000 (collaboration with Wilfried Wendling)

Anatole et Vélocipède (Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 4) (operetta, libretto by the composer, Jacques Roubaud), soprano, alto, tenor, bass, 16 mixed voices, flute, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano, 3 percussion, 2000 (one section may be performed separately as a concert work: Nombres et insultes)

LE GrandCRWTH (spectacle, text by Bertrand Raynaud, choreography by Anja Hempel), tenor, harp (+ voice), fixed media (10 tracks), live electronics, 2001–02

Kyrielle du Sentiment des Choses (chamber opera, libretto by Jacques Roubaud), 5 mixed voices, prepared piano, fixed media (6 tracks), live electronics, 2002


PAS (Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 6), small orchestra (13 players), 1998–2000

The Face in the Ashes, large orchestra, 2001

Cinq Pièces, English horn, orchestra, 2004


Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 3, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1999

Hell (a small detail), amplified bass clarinet, amplified guitar, amplified violin, 2000 (also version for fixed media [2 tracks], 2001)

La Boucle, cello, piano, 2001

Sir William Byrd's musical humors (Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 7), double bass, harpsichord, percussion, 2001 (one section may be performed separately: In Respite [also version for piano])

BOBOK, string quartet, 2002–03


Such is life (text by Edward Lear), 4 mixed voices, 2000

Parfois, après tant d'années (text by Jacques Roubaud), 6 mixed voices, 2000

Nombres et insultes, 4 mixed voices, 2000 (section of Anatole et Vélocipède [Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 4]; may be performed separately as a concert work)

Rien, personne, une légère suffocation (text by Jacques Roubaud), 3 female voices, 2000

Manières (text by Jacques Roubaud), 2 female voices, 2001

Three Christmas Songs (text by the composer, after Tim Burton), 4 mixed voices, 2001

Oh, Nuncle (text by William Shakespeare), 4 mixed voices, 2003


Nuit sans Date (text by Jacques Roubaud), female voice, live electronics, 1998, revised 2000

Jours et nuits (text by Arthur Rimbaud), baritone, piano, 1999

CRWTH (text from the word "Geduld"), amplified soprano, amplified ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion), 2000

scène (text from the word "patience" in the language of whichever nation in which the piece is performed), bass, flute, trombone, tuba, cello, double bass, 2001


Double No. 1, 1994

Ombre: Éloge inverse, 1998

Le Calcul des ombres, 1999

In Respite, 2001 (version of section of Sir William Byrd's musical humors [Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 7])


In Respite, 2001 (section of Sir William Byrd's musical humors [Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 7]; may be performed separately; also version for piano)


Hell (a small detail), fixed media (2 tracks), 2001 (version of chamber work)

Who um, fixed media (2 tracks), 2003


Encyclopédie (text by Bertrand Raynaud), fixed media (2 tracks), 2003


8 popular songs (18th-century France), violin, cello, harpsichord, 1996

Carmen (Georges Bizet), small orchestra (15 players), 1996–97

Over Maps (Love; formal aspects [I]) (Fredrik Österling), flute, viola, cello, vibraphone, 1999

Sports et divertissements (Erik Satie), flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1999

Pirouette (folksong from France), child's voice, bass clarinet, guitar, violin, 2001

Sleep Dirt (Frank Zappa), string quartet, 2002

The Black Page (Frank Zappa), string quartet, 2002

Präludium Nr. 1 in C-dur from Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, BWV 846 (Johann Sebastian Bach), piano, 2003


Such is life; Oh, Nuncle. Vox Quartet (2003)

CRWTH; In Respite (version for piano); BOBOK; Hell (a small detail) (original version); Sleep Dirt (Frank Zappa); Encyclopédie; Pirouette; Esquisse pour la Fleur Inverse No. 3; The Black Page (Frank Zappa). Tony Gray, piano; Rosamonde Quartet; CRWTH; Ensemble SIC (Zig-Zag Territoires: ZZT 040302, 2004)