Francis Dhomont

Chiaroscuro has been performed in Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam, Banff, Bangor, Basel, Birmingham, Bogotá, Bourges, Cologne, Crest, Halifax, Hamilton, Linz, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Marseille, Moncton, Mons, Montréal, Nice, Oslo, Outremont, Paris, San Francisco, San José, São Paulo, St John’s, Victoria, Vienna, Vierzon and Weimar…

To François Bayle

Plays of ambiguity. Of course, this ‘chiaroscuro’ is one of shadows and light, of opacity and transparency of sound, of the incertitude between one and the other. However, beyond this, it is the ambiguity, the hesitation between spoken and suggested, between face and mask (warning: a sound may hide another), between manifest and latent, enactment and illusion. ‘Trompe l’oreille’ music.

As in much of my work, certain sound elements come from earlier pieces and are developed anew here. I like the fact that the discourse is continued, completed. Besides — and in homage to the composers of the Montréal concert organization Les Événements du Neuf (1978-89): José Evangélista, Denis Gougeon, John Rea and in particular to the memory of Claude Vivier — I gave in to musical larceny (with the unwary complicity of its victims) which, I hope, creates an iridescence here and there, a voluntarily enigmatic contrivance.

Mutation of the musical instruments: mobility, relief, colours among the shadows…


Chiaroscuro was realized at the composer’s studio and premiered on April 10, 1987 in Montréal. This piece was awarded the Prize of the 1st Magisterium of the 16th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1988) and was first released on the Cultures électroniques 3: Magisterium compact disc produced by the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) on the Le chant du monde label (LDC 278048). Chiaroscuro was commissioned by the Événements du neuf and realized with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA).


  • April 10, 1987, Musiques 1987 (2), Nouveau Théâtre d’Outremont, Outremont (Québec)



Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30
stereo fixed medium



Date Work Program
November 21, 2005 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Wreck This MeSS / Radio Patapoe: Adventures in UNsound (Netherlands)
August 2, 2010 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
April 23, 2012 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
November 21, 2016 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Tapage nocturne / France Musique (France)
March 20, 2017 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
December 28, 2020 Francis Dhomont, Chiaroscuro (1987), 17:30 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)