Ascoltando - The Skin of the Bear / Joy Sorman


Ascoltando is a cycle of musical readings of contemporary literary works. Initiated by Ensemble Cairn in 2012, Ascoltando is, first and foremost, an encounter, between a composer, musicians, a contemporary writer and a work of literature. This results in a reading-concert, interrogating the rhythm of text and music and proposing a new junction between the lyrical, creative and poetic registers of both the literary work and the musical compositions. Three musicians and a comedian tell stories where music and text intertwine, presenting a new kind of reading to the listener.


Three encounters have already triggered three different creations:

- Mathias Enard, Tell them of battles, kings and elephants, musically adapted on works by Guilielmus, Saariaho and Gervasoni

- Christophe Claro, Bunker Anatomy, on musical pieces by Duffourt, Romitelli, Andreyer, Zimmermann, Takemitsu

- Sylvain Coher, Facing, on musical piece by Combier, Dusapin, Saunders, Reich, Saariaho


The Skin of the Bear – Joy Sorman


The Skin of the Bear is a novel by Joy Sorman. The novel, taking the form of a tale, explores the disturbing frontier between humanity and bestiality and invites the reader in a singular journey in the skin of a bear. The bear is the narrator; he lives, travels the world, encounters men, discovers its identity, faces storms, battles, rejections, discovers love. The book traces, in the form of a fable, the occidental legend of the bear (that of Jean de l’Ours, of the Roman de Renard, of Godefroi de Bouillon) and rewinds time to the primal sources of humanity, from Prehistory to High Middle-Ages, when bears were chosen as totem animals (particularly in Northern Europe) or have been revered in animist cults (which is suggested by the bones found in the Chauvet cavity). This work is a novel, a tale, an ethnological document, a reflection on our lost identity.


The narrator, monstrous hybrid born from the mating of a bear and a woman, tells its unhappy life. Having progressively relinquished all human traits to take the appearance of a bear, he is sold to a bear trainer, then to an animal combat organizer, crosses the ocean to join a circus menagerie where he befriends other extraordinary creatures, before making a decisive encounter in a zoo pit.


Three musicians of Ensemble Cairn will accompany comedian Lionel Tua’s reading with music pieces from Janacek, Bartok, Sciarrino, as well as traditional songs from the Massif Central and elsewhere. Text and music intertwine and for a game for the ear.



Ayumi Mori : clarinette

Fanny Vicens : accordion 

Frédéric Aurier : violin

Lionel Tua : comedian  

where L'atelier du Plateau - Paris

where L'Atelier du Plateau - Paris