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AMICS is a French not-for-profit association (Loi 1901) based in Betchat, France.
AMICS is committed to supporting artistic and creative professionals who need time and space to develop their professional project. As such, its goals are:
- To provide material and administrative support to the Bordeneuve artist-in-residency program.
- To support, organize and host artistic and cultural activities in the Couserans as well as the broader Midi-Pyrenees region.
- To encourage and support collaborative artistic and creative endeavors between local and international artists.
AMICS was founded in 2006 as Ariège Musique Improvisée et Création Sonore (Improvised Music and Sound Creation in the Ariège) by two professional musicians, David and Noëlle Thompson. As a French not-for-profit association, AMICS hosted and participated in numerous activities during its three short years: in 2007 and 2008 we held summer music camps on music creation and improvisation for children and adults. In 2007 and 2009, our weekly music therapy sessions at a local psychiatric hospital allowed non-musician patients to explore the pleasure of creating a sound track for a Chaplin short film using found objects. The sessions were such a success that we took their film “on tour” to local retirement homes, sharing their newfound musical abilities with an appreciative audience. Noelle took the AMICS collection of found-sound objects and instruments to after school centers to get children as young as four making music. David, an accomplished composer, violinist and pianist, wrote original soundtracks and soundscapes to numerous silent films ranging from classic Chaplin and Keatons to early science fiction (Aelita, Queen of Mars) to the first burlesque films out of Russia (The Young Girl with the Hat Box). Each year we took a silent film of a different nationality to the local primary schools and used the film and its historical context as a departure point for a lesson on early 20th century history and geography. The children participated in quizzes and sound-creation games and were provided with follow up documentation for further exploration in class.
David performed his compositions live at major film festivals across the south of France (Anères, Jazz’velanet, Luluberlu) as well as in local cinemas. In 2009 we hosted several evenings in local châteaux with a four-course, local-food meal and a live cinema concert.
After the untimely death of David in 2009, AMICS ceased its activity. We are restarting our program in Autumn 2011 as a multidisciplinary artist-in-residence program at Bordeneuve.
We’ve got lots of ideas for future activities – stay tuned!
NEWS: Fall in love again: A Retreat for Flutists, July 2012. A six-day workshop led by New York-based flutist Deidre Manning. Limited places available. Open to professional or semi-professional flutists who want to rediscover their love of the instrument.
If you would like to get involved in AMICS contact me.
Here you can listen to a few extracts of the music composed by David for a variety of films, as well as listen to the kids play the music they wrote at summer camp in 2007!
The Cameraman (1928)
The love theme David composed to Buster Keaton’s New York masterpiece.
“The most beautiful film in the world” according to Truffaut. David’s accompaniment to Murnau’s film involved constructing a Bedouin-style tent in the concert hall, where he hid himself with two keyboards and an “Instrumentarium” of found objects (glass bottles, cameras, bags of walnuts(!), construction materials…). Performed live, the audience always believed there was a full orchestra hidden in the tent….Here you have the film’s opening theme.
The Girl with the Hat Box (1927)
Natascha’s theme from Boris Barnet’s touching and quirky burlesque film.
Prapanscha Pash (1929)
Renamed “Sunita” for French audiences, this was a huge budget film for 1929 with Indian palaces, tiger hunts and trick dice.
Coming soon!! Composed by 7 children between the ages of 10 and 15 in 2007 to accompany the short film The Mole and the Car by Zdenek Miler. (I would love to post the film but I can’t due to rights problems). The children composed the music with our assistance and played from memory the day after they composed it.
Aelita, Queen of Mars (1924)
Composed and performed with the Zalmoxis Trio live at the Jazz’velanet festival in 2006, as well as in other venues.
David performed these live, often playing the violin and piano simultaneously. One memorable concert involved suspending the piano over a waterfall with fire jugglers dancing around!
René Clair’s surreal Dadaist trip through 1920’s Paris (and quite possibly the only film where you can see Erik Satie bouncing on a trampoline!)