What is CEPI?

For me CEPI is a meeting point where improvising musicians, other practitioners of improvised performance-arts, scholars, thinkers, anyone who is active and/or curious about new forms and methods of doing can meet to exchange their ides and experiences and also to participate together in the creative process, in short to improvise together.

In 2014 when Enrico Fagnoni & I started the CEPI project my vision was a physical center to be built amongst the ruins of the historical site I had lived in for many years in the Var, in the French Provence. After a few years in pursuit of this end I came to realize that I was too old (I'm now 85) to undertake such a daunting adventure. Subsequently the original idea has morphed into one of the CEPI being nomadic. Perhaps one day the importance of the improvised experience will have taken on such importance as to warrant the establishment of a physical center.

In 2015 CEPI produced its first annual international convention, a 3 day event in which time was allotted to the exchange of ideas & experiences via 1 hour presentations by individuals, or occasionally groups, and the remaining time organized to allow for the maximum amount & variety of performing together in various settings. Beginning in 2020 the way will be open for individual hosts to future meetings (conferences) to construct them as they see fit. For example, CEPI MasterClass is under discussion at this time to take place in Budapest at the BMC at a future date.

Barre Phillips - Puget Ville (FR) 2020

Per me il CEPI è il luogo dove imparo, con la pratica dell'improvvisazione tra amici, a rispondere intuitivamente nel modo migliore agli stimoli inattesi. E quando la risposta emotiva è quella giusta, la conseguente elaborazione cognitiva è meno meno faticosa, o meno dolorosa anche quando ci si accorge di aver sbagliato.

L'improvvisazione non è quindi relegata al solo aspetto artistico, ma è qualcosa che ha a che fare con il lavoro, con i rapporti umani e con la vita stessa, perchè ci permette di imparare ad ascoltare con il cuore quello che davvero le persone vogliono comunicarci, anche quando esistono barriere linguistiche o culturali.

Tutto questo me lo ha insegnato il saggio Barre trent'anni fa, senza parole, con la sua intuizione del progetto Fête foreign e con il suo suono. Come non potevo aderire con entusiasmo alla sua idea di CEPI?

Enrico Fagnoni - Lecco (IT) 2020

CEPI is one place for me, even if it's always changing. A place to meet. Meeting each other in improvisation. Getting together with people I would otherwise never meet. Getting to know the work of artists in other countries. Exchanging ideas, building relationships, finding friendships. Working together with other arts. To be in places that inspire me by their location, climate, landscapes and inhabitants. At the same time, to let the different ways of thinking meet each other. And not only playing together, but also thinking together. All this is necessary to overcome borders, to help improvisation to clarity and conciseness. In this way we bring about a development of musical culture towards more collective creativity and the strengthening of the independence and effectiveness of each individual. It's all improvisation, and it's worth following it up, this year in France again, next year elsewhere.

Reinhard Gagel - Berlin (DE) 2020

The improvisor/performer is asked to bring his ideas & experience into play with others who are also doing the same - their personal research into their basic materials & how to organize them to be able to communicate them to other performers and above all to the “outside” world. What are one’s “basic materials”? That we are all born with different capacities is a given. But, our education at home and later in society rarely is based on the development of these differences but rather is based on their modification to fit into a social/political/material mold which is imposed by the general society. Improvisation is a collective activity but it depends upon its practitioners to be actively involved with their own, personal development.

CEPI - Centre Européen Pour l'Improvisation - is a french no profit organization (1901 law) created in 2014.

Reg. Number:
Gyorgy Kurtag
Honorary President:
Barre Phillips
Laurent Charles 
Christine Quoiraud