Arne Deforce

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Started in: 2003
End date: 2012
Musician type: stringed instrument
University: Leiden University
Personal website:
Nationality: Belgium

Arne Deforce is renowned for his passionate and unparalleled perfomances of contemporary and experimental music.

As a musician and researcher, he is fascinated on how, at the intersection between music, art, science and technology, new concepts and relationships in music can be developed between the instrument, musical gesture and electronics. As such, his collaboration on the "life-form" (2012) a one hour cycle of Richard Barrett for cello and electroncis, based on concepts transformation of life such as bio-genetics, or the piece "Foris" (2012) of Raphael Cendo, reflects the fact that a sound world of untapped potential between the physicality of playing, technology and extended notations can further be developed in a collaborative project between composer and performer.

As a soloist, his repertoire consists mainly of solo- and chamber music with a special interest in works from composers such as Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Karlheinz Stockhausen. His fascinating, energetic and imaginative approach to music has inspired many composers including Richard Barrett, Luc Brewaeys, Kee-Yong Chong, Raphael Cendo, Hector Parra, Alvin Curran and Phil Niblock, to collaborate or write original works especially for him.

In 2004, after one such collaboration, Jonathan Harvey described Arne Deforce as “one of the most exciting new cellists I have come across. Everything he plays is approached with a powerful intensity born from an engagement with the music on a deep spiritual and psychic level. He is highly imaginative and brings an originality and, above all, creativity to his interpretations which is both fiery and structured.” His collaborative partners include musicians as Daan Vandewalle, Mika Vaino, Richard Barrett, Peter Jacquemyn, Yutaka Oya, next to Champ d’Action, Ictus, MusikFabrik, Concertgebouw Brugge, Centre Henri Pousseur Liège, Ircam Paris, Grame Lyon. Arne Deforce features regularly in leading international new music festivals (Ars Musica, Holland Festival, ManiFesta - Agora Paris, Archipel Genève, Musica Strassbourg, Mito, Fondation Royaumont, Musica Sacra Maastricht, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Amsterdamse Cellobiënale).

His remarkable discography - Jonathan Harvey (Megadisc) ; Giacinto Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis complete works for cello + 1 (Aeon) ; Phil Niblock (Touch) ; Mika Vaino (Mego) – received international acclaim (5 Diapson d'or, Coupe de coeur Académie Charles Cros, Prix Ceacilia 2012).

His docARTES doctoral defense took place on November 14, 2012 at Leiden University.




The thesis wishes to examine the pathways of thought underlying the creative act of music making and the performance practice of complex music from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. The questions at stake in the case of a ‘new’ complexity score, that is to say what is the significance of the extreme…