A l'étude
From dawn till dusk


The performance of a pianist at work

In this performance, Nikias Imhoof propose to work only on studies (and the piano repertoire is full of them: Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ligeti, etc.). Thus, in addition to the reflection on the concert as a performance, he will also reflect on the place of the spectacular (in this case the virtuosity) in the concert and more generally in music. Indeed, the genre of studies, even more than in any other musical genre, leads the performer to his limits. The public performance of a cycle of studies throws the performer, like a trapeze artist without a net, in front of the fascinated eyes of the audience.

On the other hand, by integrating error and repetition, the performance allows the spectacular dimension to be apprehended from another angle: that of the hard-working existence that makes the spectacular possible. The ordinary of the work turns into the extraordinary through its exposure to the public.

This "performance" - a term intrinsically tinged with a "sporting" connotation - also highlights the "combative" aspect of the music, an aspect that is particularly important today.

Text: Nikias Imhoof

Video stills


The performance "A l'étude" shows the hard work and preparation of a professional pianist.

It is a different way of experiencing the music than within a concert or a recording: it reveals what is usually invisible tot he public and conceals what is usually shown.

However, this performance is not meant to be an act of negation of the concert, but rather to create a vacillation in a relationship that the audience has with the performer: the performance enriches the experience of the audience as much as that of the performer. The absence of a concert shifts the spectator's attention to the musician's work, a work that is generally overshadowed in favor of the concert-performance. Here the work becomes the heart of the work, it becomes a fully meaningful act and no longer a preparatory act for something else.


  • Category:  Documentary  |  Art  |  Portrait
  • Year:  2020  |  2021
  • Locations:  Geneva . Switzerland