Biography, internet links & press reviews
Bansuri flute - piccolo, C, alto, bass & octobass flutes
Henri Tournier is one of the great Western specialists of the bansuri flute. He is among those musicians fascinated by Indian music and has become one of its passionate ambassadors. He has been exploring the various possibilities of bansuri flute for decades, both in its cradle, Northern India classical music, as well as in world and contemporary Western music.
The legendary flautist Roger Bourdin transmitted him his passion for improvisation, which led him to meet with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. After becoming his student and then his assistant, he is teaching as a visiting Professor at Rotterdam-Codarts since more than twenty-seven years. Henri Tournier has built his own improvisation and composition language using bansuri and Western transverse flutes. He is constantly working on new music experiences, gathering recordings in the international field. In 2016, he has been appointed professor of Modal improvisation and Indian music at the Paris National Music Conservatoire CNSMDP.
He is the author of the reference book-2CDs "Hariprasad Chaurasia and the art of improvisation", an Accords-Croisés/Rotterdam-Codarts publication.
Henri Tournier studied Western classical music with Roger Bourdin at Versailles Conservatoire and then with Fernand Caratgé at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. It was Roger Bourdin, renowned soloist and an eclectic musician, who transmitted his passion for improvisation to him.
A laureate of the George Cziffra (flute piano recital with Regina Barros) and Yehudi Menuhin foundations (flute guitar recital with Marcus Llerena), parallel to his chamber music concerts, Henri Tournier started developing his own language of improvisation in the context of music for contemporary ballet, mainly with the Peter Goss company and his composer Armand Amar.
After 2 years in the CIM Paris Jazz school, improvisation will guide him to Indian classical Music, first the South Indian classical Music, Carnatic Music, with Sundar Rao a disciple of T.R.Mahalingam.
Since 1989 he has been following the guidance of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, during many stays in Mumbai, then at Rotterdam Conservatoire where he is working with him since more than 25 years as an assistant-guest teacher. In Mumbai he was also tutored by Pandit Malhar Kulkarni.
Henri Tournier has accompanied Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia at various concerts. In 1999-2000, he was deeply involved in the creation and interpretation of his Bansuri concerto «Adi Anant», team work with the composer Pablo Cueco.
As one of the few musicians both active in music research and in Indian classical music, Henri Tournier has successfully included the Bansuri in the contemporary repertoire, by creating many music works. He has multiplied his musical experiences by playing with the Ensembles Nyssa, Henri Agnel, Pablo Cueco’s Transes Européennes, Aman-Salon de Musique, Millenarium, the Hyksos Duo, the Hardy-Tournier-Roy Trio, Sharmila Sharma and Prabhu Edouard, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Willem Tanke, the composer Pierre Bernard, in trio with Carole Hemard and Thierry Gomar, among others.
He has worked for many years with the production «Accords Croisés» as a guest musician within various original projects of « World Music » encounters : Mahwash (Afghanistan) & Jordi Savall’s Hesperion XXI, Keyvan Chemirani’s Beats of the oriental heart (Iran/India/Greece), Houria Aïchi (Algeria), Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia), Abida Parveen (Pakistan), Liu Fang, Lingling Yu (China), Enkhjargal Dandarvaanchig (Mongolie) (Steppes breath), performing in different countries of Europe, of middle-Est, India, Russia, North America, Canada, South America (Brésil, Bolivie).
From 1983-2005 Henri Tournier taught at the Municipal Conservatoire of Paris and from 1989-1991 at the National Conservatoire of Reunion Island where he organized cultural exchanges with India and Mauritius. At the Conservatoire of Rotterdam-Codarts, Henri Tournier teach bansuri flute as well as Indian theory and improvisation to the Bachelor and Master students.
Member of the French Society of Ethnomusicology, he holds the French Teacher Certification for Traditional Music (2001), participated in music symposium and conferences ( Sangeet Research Academy - Bombay, Rotterdam, Cité de la Musique de Paris, INALCO Paris, International flute convention Paris and Orlando USA, …) and as specialist consultant within projects such as Afghan Ghazals by Mahwash, or Frederic Leclair’s movie Ravi Shankar’s Extraordinary Lesson broadcast by Arte (DVD « Accords Croisés » collection.
He is teaching modal improvisation in the Framework of master-classes, workshops and residences, he as been appointed since September 2016 as teacher of Indian Classical Music and Modal improvisation in the "Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris" CNSMDP.