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Short & Sweet

15 questions put to Benjamin Attahir

To tie in with the world creation of Le Silence des ombres, we asked Benjamin Attahir to provide brief answers to the following questions.

How old were you when you first lost yourself in music?  

I was five. And then when I was thirteen. Completely and irretrievably

Your main character trait?


What would you take away with you from a journey into the past?  

The atmosphere in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on the evening of May 29th 1913 .

Which quality do you value in others?


Your musical influences?

Britten, Penderecki, Dhafer Youssef, Trio Joubran...

What does the Mediterranean Sea signify for you?

A cradle.

Your three favourite authors?

Milan Kundera, Patrick Modiano and Lancelot Hamelin.

The last piece of music you listened to?  

The Greatest Discovery by Elton John – live in Edinburgh, 1976.

A favourite sound

Breaking ocean waves and the announcement of a train arriving at the station.

Your work ritual?

A long shower, the jets of water preparing me for a day’s composing.

Your greatest shortcoming?


Your favourite instrument?

The voice.

What would you like to be?

A slightly wiser person.

Your favourite animal?


What would be the pinnacle of your artistic career?

To have my artist and musician friends at my side until the end.

about Benjamin Attahir

Composer Benjamin Attahir (1989) studied the violin at the Conservatoire de Toulouse before going on to study composition at the Conservatoire de Paris and has since won numerous competitions and awards. Inspired by somewhere mid-way between East and West, his works are commissioned and played by major orchestras and musicians: Daniel Barenboim (Al Fajr, 2017), the Ensemble intercontemporain (Et nous tournions autour de ces fontaines hallucinées, 2016), L’Orchestre National de France (N’zah, 2010), the Philharmonie de Paris (La femme fendue, 2018) and the renowned French violinist Renaud Capuçon (the recent concerto for violin and soprano). Benjamin Attahir was recently composer-in-residence with the Gstaad Festival (2018) and the Orchestre National de Lille (2017-19). This season at La Monnaie you will hear more of his work during the Concertino on October 11th.