PFL Traject

PFL Traject is three musicians—clarinettist Pascal Pariaud, percussionist Jean-Charles François, electric guitarist Gilles Laval—with different backgrounds but a common interest in the role of music in education.

Between January and May 2012, they developed a pedagogical project in eastern France, around the towns of Nancy and Strasbourg, that was supported by the Centre André Malraux in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy. The workshops were for musicians, dancers, teachers, children, and amateurs, a clearly heterogeneous group in age, competency levels, use of technologies (amplified instruments/ non amplified instruments), artistic domains (dance and music), status (professional musicians, amateurs, students, pupils), and aesthetics (classical contemporary music, contemporary dance, jazz, popular music, world music). The workshops culminated in two public performances, one in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, near Nancy, as part of the Festival Musique-Action, and one at the Maison des Arts of Lingolsheim, near Strasbourg.
For the musicians in PFL Traject, out of it came, first, the concept of “encountering”, in which a diversity of people meet to develop an artistic project together; and, second, the idea of “co-constructing the sound”, in which participants learn how to create "shared" sounds. Jean-Charles François, at the Festival Musique-Action in Nancy in 2012, said, "The idea of encountering is related to the notion of unity of differences. The encountering is not designed to erase or change the differences, but to foster mutual understanding, to be able to do something in common. The encountering, however, implies inevitably that everyone is confronted with change, the capacity to face it, the acceptance of what might happen."

The following sound clips are taken from a series of recordings.

And from February 11 to February 27, 2015, PFL Traject performed or conducted workshop/performances at various places in New York City, among them at Columbia University, Composers Now Festival, and NYU, and in California, among them the Fresh Sound Music Series, University of California at San Diego, University of California at Santa Barbara, Mills College, and Stanford University.
The following video was made by Kevin Reilly at Firehouse Space in Brooklyn, New York, on February 12, 2015, as part of the Composers Now Festival. James Ilgenfritz joins the group during this concert. Thanks to Kevin Reilly for the video.


The following text, written by Jean-Charles François, describes the thought that gave rise to the formation of the group. He writes:

"The improbable meeting of three musicians — Pascal Pariaud, Jean-Charles François, Gilles Laval — on the occasion of a concert in 2006, as part of an improvisation festival, is at the origin of the creation of the group PFL Traject.

"The terms of “traveling”, of “trajectory”, in their plural dimensions are the constituent elements that best define PFL Traject, concerning as much the history of each individual member as what determines the collective improvised playing.

"The members of the group all went through very different journeys, in the type of music they have tackled, in the instrumental families they have mastered, as well as in the professional role they have played in the institutions of the music world. If these wanderings in time and space are strongly contrasted, they are all three made of a considerable sum of varied experiences. Thus, along these sinuous roads, are juxtaposed the interpretation of more or less recent repertoires, the invention of new practices, the playing of early music instruments, of traditional music instruments, or of new technologies instruments, the care for a historical knowledge as a base for the interpretation of various repertories, the necessity to confront oneself to the chaos of the future world, the critical reflection on today’s art and its inscribing in the ways of cultural mediation and education. What brings these musicians together, is on the one hand for each of them a long personal pathway to the invention of sounds in the context of varied activities linked to improvisation. And, on the other hand, the strong belief, as a result of a recent collaboration in the institutions of music teaching, in the presence of a public service allowing the access for all to the musical practices and to the possibility for all to be able to invent the terms of their itineraries in connection with a multiplicity of cultural expressions.

"Each improvisation of PFL Traject is a voyage in the already constituted memory, a promenade in the garden of delights of what has already been cultivated. Each member brings his own repertoire of sounds, individual manner of proceeding, collections of instruments and heterogeneous objects, musical gestures exploring the multiple manners of making sound — blowing, strumming, beating and scraping...

"Each one brings his touch. At the same time, in the unfolding of the improvisation, always different, what is at stake is not just the superimposition of three divergent universes, but on the contrary a concern for elaborating together collective sonic worlds, in some blending aggregates in which the ideal is not to be able to recognize the individual instruments, or in some heterogeneous mixtures which will be perceived as global entities. As such PFL Traject invites the audience to travel, to stroll, to ramble, to put oneself into orbit, to fly off at a tangent, to make the tour of a world that is well-defined in its individual windings, but is infinite in its collective combinations. At the same time a diversified trajectory of individualities, and trajectory in shared transports."