Born in 1972 in Rouen, French composer, director and visual artist. He studied composition with Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Magnus Lindberg, Philippe Manoury, Tristan Murail, and Guy Reibel. In addition, he studied music analysis and aesthetics, cello, conducting, harmony and counterpoint, as well as attended Jacques Roubaud’s seminars on comparative poetics at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1999‒2002). He graduated in composition from the Conservatoire National de Paris in 1995. Subsequently he attended composition masterclasses in Szombathely with Brian Ferneyhough and Marco Stroppa (1996‒97) with the aid of several SACEM grants. In 1997‒98 he collaborated with IRCAM, then graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in music analysis (1999) and composition (2000).
He has performed in Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. His works have been presented at international festivals including Musica (Strasbourg), Donaueschingen, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Ars Musica (Brussels), Holland Festival, and MaerzMusik (Berlin). He composed a chamber opera for the Aix-en-Provence Lyrical Art Festival (2003) and released his first monographic CD for the French label Zig-Zag Territoires. Numerous French soloists have performed his works, including Nicolas Dautricourt, Céline Frisch, Noémi Boutin, François Salque, Alexandre Tharaud, Dimitri Vassilakis, Samuel Favre, Vanessa Wagner, as well as ensembles such as Diotima Quartet, Béla Quartet, Ensemble Modern, ensemble recherche, Ictus Ensemble, Ensemble intercontemporain, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
He is renowned for his music theatre and multimedia works, which he often performs himself. He has recently collaborated with South African artist William Kentridge on Telegrams from the Nose, which was presented more than 30 times at major festivals and venues all over Europe. Since 2008 he has been conducting his own works. He has recently opened his first exhibition in Paris, initiating a new aspect of his art such as videos, collages and art books.
François Sarhan has taught at IRCAM between 1998 and 2002, and at the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg since 1999. Since 2015 he has been teaching composition at the University of Arts in Berlin and the High School of Music in Dresden.
He wrote History of Music (published in 2002 by Flammarion) and initiated the artistic collective CRWTH, which has created and performed multimedia projects since 2000. In 2016 he was guest lecturer at the Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, where he presented two new works: Commodity Music and Who Really Was Mario Bossi. In 2017–18 he was artist in residence at the Schlosstheater Moers, where he wrote and directed four theatre performances and a film titled The Suitcase.
Selected works (since 2005): 35 chamber works entitled Situations for 1‒4 performers (2008–20) 28 janvier 2005 for baritone and piano (2005), Les Articulations de la Reine, puppet theatre music, to words by Bertrand Raynaud (2005), Five Pieces for viola and orchestra (2005), Missing for guitar, piano, Stroh violin, percussion, double bass and prerecorded sound (2006), L’Enfer, un point de détail, evening event including installation, music and spoken text (2006), Amitié for cello (2007), Testimony for 19 musicians and electronics after Charles Rezniko (2007), The Name of the Song for string trio, electronics, Rhodes piano and narrator (2007), Telegrams from the Nose, chamber opera for five musicians and narrator, to words by Daniil Kharms (2008), Music While, variations on Purcell’s Music for a While for soprano and guitar (2006), Dibbuk for orchestra (2010), Petit Dibbuk for small orchestra (2011), Home Work, theatre music (2011), A King, Lear, theatre music, to words by Jacques Roubaud after Shakespeare (2011), Lucy B for soprano / mezzo-soprano and string quartet (2011), Here It Ended Even Further, two pieces for piano (2011), Bon pied bel œil for flute, Rhodes piano and tape / computer / CD (2011), Talea for four percussionists (2011), Observations sur les ombres accidentelles et les murmures colorés for cello and tape / computer / CD (2011), O piano for reciting pianist and prerecorded sound (2012), Deluxe Coucou for violin or ensemble (2008–13), I Don’t Belong to Your World for a speaking marimba player (2010–13), Wandering Rocks for four electric guitars and electronics (2013), Talea 2 for 11 musicians and electronics (2015), La philosophie dans le boudoir, music theatre for six voices (2015), Commodity Music, music theatre for four electric guitars and 24 loudspeakers (2016), Talea 3 for five musicians (2017), One Shot Train, music theatre for five musicians (2017), Potence à paratonnerre for ensemble (2017), Finger and Mouth for keyboard and video (2017), Nacht bis Acht, music theatre for children (2019), The End of the Story for two musicians and video (2019), Log Book, electroacoustic work (2019), The Right Ear, music theatre for six musicians and video (2020).