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Date(s) - 30/11/2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Mazda Hall


S O N I A  W I E D E R – A T H E R T O N

© Xavier Arias “I don’t know India, but I dream of discovering it, travelling to its different cities and regions. Meeting people, taking time with them to share my Odyssey. Recording sounds together. Then incorporating this raw material into the Odyssey and its soundtrack. Each venue hosting a performance would thus become the home of its own Odyssey variation: the Odyssey for that place and those people.”


As part of Bonjour India 2017, the Alliance Francaise de Pune, in collaboration with Poona Music Society, presents THE ODYSSEES IN INDIA  by S O N I A W I E D E R – A T H E R T O N. 

Sonia Wieder-Atherton is today’s most gifted and well-known French cellist. Following her Mediterranean Odyssey, Sonia Wieder-Atherton now brings her talent and creativity to India. Absorbing a landscape of sounds recorded in situ into her performance of classical pieces, she explores the question of how the world resonates in music.

30th Nov.| 7 PM
Mazda Hall, Dastur Primary School, Camp

Odyssey for cello and imaginary choir is a visually powerful
concert for cello and sound track by Sonia Wieder-Atherton.
Imagine a circle. In the circle, a woman, alone, talks,
wails, whispers. To the Earth, to the Gods, to herself,
against a sound track mingling boats’ sirens, crickets
chirping in the burning sun, the murmur of the crowds,
the wind, the waves, the storm and chaos. In a dreamlike
time of thirteen adventures built around the music of
Bach, Prokofiev, Aperghis and popular songs of Berber,
Egyptian, Syrian and Byzantine origin.
The show premiered at Aix-en-Provence in the south of
France in 2012.
It has toured France and abroad, playing to audiences
in large and small venues, historic sites with natural
backdrops, and also in the open air. At each performance, it
reinvents itself, adapts. The images, often cinematographic,
surge up and fill the scene.

“Collaborating with the project partners, I should like to
talk about possible contact with different people, allowing
time to spend several work sessions with each. These people
and the way in which I meet and spend time with them
could range very widely from a community to a school, a
personality, a musician, …
In each chosen region, I would allow time to immerse myself.
I would tell the story, illustrated by sound, of how my Odyssey
came into being. What I am telling, how I orchestrate my
narratives and what is concealed in there.
From these exchanges would emerge narratives, dreams, songs,
discoveries, questions. Each meeting would be recorded.
I expect nothing in particular. My ideal would be to give a
voice to events, hidden away somewhere in memory, dreams
– from sleep or waking – sensations or emotions. These words
would be protected and accommodated by the Odyssey.
In each place I would then bring in the sound engineer
Franck Rossi, and we would work together, incorporating
my selected recordings into the soundtrack of the Odyssey.
Each residence would produce its own unique Odyssey,
which, when complete, would be performed in concert in
the place that inspired that unique version.”


Sonia Wieder-Atherton has always used music as
a language open to the world. It is a personal quest
that, over the years, has taken her from one repertory
to another, from one discovery to the next, in an unbroken
process of exploration.
Born in San Francisco of a mother of Romanian origin
and an American father, she grew up in New York,
then Paris. Here, she entered the Conservatoire National
Supérieur in the class of Maurice Gendron. At the age
of 19 she crossed the iron curtain and went to live in
Moscow, where she studied with Natalia Chakhovskaïa
at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Of her years in Russia,
she kept, in addition to the excellence of the education, a
special relationship with time, stories and people.
Back in France, at the age of 25, she won the Rostropovitch
Competition. Sonia Wieder-Atherton has worked
with the leading contemporary composers, and performs
as soloist under the leadership of many different
conductors. Her playing and style are immediately distinctive,
setting her apart as a rare musician.
In recent years, Sonia Wieder-Atherton has designed
and staged numerous projects: Jewish Songs, Songs from
Slavic Lands, Vita Monteverdi – Scelsi, Odyssey for Cello and
Imaginary Choir, D’Est en musique, a show designed with
footage from Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est, and Night
Dances, with Charlotte Rampling, to works by Benjamin
Britten and Sylvia Plath. Little Girl Blue, from Nina Simone
was her latest project, completed in 2014.
In 2011, she won the Bernheim Foundation Arts Prize,
one of the Foundation’s three annual awards to individuals
whose work is deemed to be of creative value in the
fields of the arts, literature and science. In 2015, she was
named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

This concert is organised in association with Poona Music Society and 


The third edition of Bonjour India 2017-18 is a four-month-long mega voyage across India that will celebrate Indo-French partnership as well as shape the next decade of human exchange between the two countries.