Thomas Fournil copy 2.jpg

Thomas Fournil

Thomas Fournil (b. 1990) is a Corsican composer currently based in London. He founded the Idrîsî Ensemble and works as an artistic director and hurdy-gurdy player towards the performance of medieval Mediterranean repertoire and new commissions. Thomas became a fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama after completing the Guildhall Artist Masters course under James Weeks. His current doctoral research is concerned with cross-fertilising medievalist aesthetics and spectral music, and is supervised by James Weeks, Julian Anderson, Marcel Pérès and Nye Parry. His interests often revolve around aspects of historical performance, memory, fragility, silence, transcendence and cultural heritage. Previous collaborations include the Plus Minus Ensemble, Exaudi, the Calder Quartet, members of the Aurora Orchestra, soloists such as Caoimhe de Paor, James Leveridge, Jack Michael Welch, and artists such as choreographer Yanaëlle Thiran. Last year, his sound installation for The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music introduced original techniques to analyse and materialise the sonic frequencies of a church. His studies are kindly supported by the City of London Corporation and The Guildhall School Trust.


Tintinnabulation for tubular bells & live electronics

Percussion . Peter Rayner

The electronics emphasise partials from the live sound following a tintinnabulation technique. This creates a very subtle cloud of resonance, gradually shifting towards upper partials. A second layer brings the highest, imperceptible partials down two octaves and slowed down, creating a raw chiming texture. The quasi-hidden use of Tintinnabuli, and the rather meditative quality of this composition present an intimate homage to Arvo Pärt. Poetically, the use of bells links back to Pärt’s interest in early music, while the instrument recalls “actual” tintinnabulation.

de souffle

Flutes . Jack Michael Welch, Toni Berg
Percussion . Peter Ashwell

Materials composed for choreographer Yanaëlle Thiran in "Dessus de Souffle", and re-organised to expand their gestural and meditative qualities. In this piece we first explore the song of the Common Grackle before giving it a rhythmic flow. Various multiphonics follow the spectrum of a Tibetan bowl. Strong gestural sounds confront the soundscape, and create a different sense of flow for the listener.

Concerto For Recorder . IIIrd movement (Chamber Orchestra)

Full concerto here.

Recorders . Caoimhe de Paor 
Conductor . James Weeks

This work has been inspired by three Haiku, and several aspects of the poems influenced the form and content of the music. Each movement starts with a very short section aiming to recreate the spoken rhythm of its correspondent Haiku, and is then articulated following its particular structure and colouration. In this piece we explore a concerto aesthetic at the limits of anti-concerto writing, playing with the focus of attention towards the recorder to explore the softest, subtlest colours of the instrument.

tsuru no asobi 
kumoi ni kanau 
hatsu hi kana

it's play for the cranes
flying up to the clouds
the year's first sunrise

Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)

…par fumée…

Conductor . James Weeks
6 voices . EXAUDI

...par fumée... is a re-imagining of 14th century rondeau ‘Fumeux fume’ by Solage, in which smoke and smoking is a recurrent theme. I derived my pitches from the harmonic series of D, creating subtle microtonal harmonies and melodies. Like the original, the singing dissolves into hazy colours and elusive harmonies all within an extremely low register. Additionally the score follows the tradition of Ars Subtilior repertoire, with flowing rhythms and colourful notation.


Fumeux fume par fumée
Fumeuse spéculation

Qu'antre fumet sa pensée
Tant qu'il ait son entencion

Fumeux fume par fumée
Fumeuse spéculation


A smoker smolders smokily
In smoky speculation

Thus he steeps his thoughts in smoke
Until he gets his way

A smoker smolders smokily
In smoky speculation

Representation of NASA's Space Sounds: Earth

Vibraphone: James Leveridge

This piece was written in collaboration with electronic musician Christian Czornyj for a Nico Mulhy curated event: 'Electronic music Pioneers', as part of his new music festival 'A Scream and an Outrage' at the Barbican Centre. It is a stylised representation of different recordings of Earth by NASA space probes.