A percussionist who works across lines of media and genre, Lê Quan Ninh is classically trained; he won first prize in percussion at the Versailles Conservatory in Sylvio Gualda's class where he was introduced to the music of the 20th century's great composers, including Stravinsky, Xennakis, Bartok, and Messiaen. The percussionist became a specialist in contemporary idioms. He's composed for and performed with such groups as Musique Vivante, Espace Musical, Alternance, Entre-Temps, and Musique Oblique, among others. Lê Quan Ninh developed a strong interest in improvisation, which led him to collaborate with musicians commonly associated with free jazz, such as composer Butch Morris, bassist Peter Kowald, saxophonist Ned Rothenberg, drummer Paul Lovens, and many others. Lê Quan Ninh has collaborated with dancers, filmmakers, poets, and video and performance artists. He is a member of the Hêlios Quartet, a contemporary percussion ensemble known for commissioning pieces by such composers as Jean-Pierre Drouet, Vinko Globokar, Giorgio Battistelli, George Lewis, and Kaija Saariaho. Since 1993, Lê Quan Ninh has worked extensively with interactive computer music. In association with the mathematician Phillipe Besse and La Flibuste, a network of improvisers based in Toulouse, France, the percussionist has developed computer programs for multimedia installations; his programs have also been used by such groups as Quanta, Knobits, and Idiome 1238. Since 1985, Lê Quan Ninh has recorded in a variety of contexts for, among others, the Leo, FMP, New World, Wergo, and Erstwhile labels.
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