Improvisation Workshop

Joëlle Léandre

Organised by CDM San Michele and BlueRing Improvisers
Joëlle Léandre e BlueRing Improvisers
Fill in the registration form at the bottom of the page

The workshop is addressed to all musicians (instrumentalists and singers) interested in free improvisation, active in any musical field, of any technical, stylistic and idiomatic background, of any age and with any kind of training, preferably with a good level of technical-instrumental mastery.

The course will focus on the practice of free improvisation, mainly in small chamber formations; the participants, following Joëlle Léandre’s guidance, will form extemporaneously small variable-geometry ensembles whose improvisations will be the starting point for a shared reflection.

Among the various points of interest of the course will be extemporaneous composition, the relationship between composition and improvisation, the instrumental techniques and relational dynamics used during improvisation, the form and its ongoing management, and political and philosophical themes. The course is generally organised in study days of six hours of improvisation in small groups divided between morning and afternoon.

In addition to the organised lessons, there will be convivial and informal moments in which to talk about the topics that emerge from the meetings in an atmosphere of sharing and mutual listening.

[…] And we’ll work, play, create music, we’ll talk about life, sounds, jazz, free, noise, poetry, Europe, Usa, painting, politics, forms, structures, and of course composition!! […]

Joëlle Léandre


Joëlle Léandre, born in Aix-en-Provence in 1951, is a French contrabassist, composer and improviser. In 1976, she was awarded the « Creative Associate of Arts », a one year grant to work in Buffalo, New York, with Morton Feldman.

Joëlle Léandre is a laureat of the Villa Médicis “Hors les Murs” program which provided an opportunity to live and work in New York for a year (1981). She was also a recipient of the DAAD Scholarship (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – 1990) an artist-in-residence program and the Villa Kujoyama Scholarship (Kyoto, Japan 1998). In 2002, 2004 and 2006, Joëlle Léandre was a visiting professor of composition and improvisation and the Darius Milhaud Chair at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Léandre’s work spans the globe. Her creative and performance activities, both solo and ensemble, have led her to the most prestigious European, American and Asian scenes.

She has worked with Merce Cuningham, Morton Feldman, John Cage, and Giacinto Scelsi, Philippe Fenelon, Philippe Hersant, Steve Lacy, José Luis Campana, Betsy Jolas and Aldo Clementi. At ease with contemporary music ensembles, she has performed with L’Itineraire, L’Ensemble Intercontemporain and 2E2M in Paris.

Joëlle Léandre


She has also collaborated with the greatest names in jazz and improvisation such as Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Irene Schweizer, William Parker, Barre Phillips, Pascal Contet, Hamid Drake, Steve Lacy, Lauren Newton, Peter Kowald, Urs Leimgruber, Mat Maneri, Roy Campbell, Fred Frith, John Zorn, Mark Naussef, Marilyn Crispell, India Cooke and others. About forty composers have composed for the bass, and several scores have been dedicated to her.

In contemporary dance, she has been approached by choreographers and dancers such as Yano, Dominique Boivin, Mathilde Monnier, Elsa Wolliaston and Josef Nadj. Joëlle Léandre has recorded more than 180 albums. Her book, A Voix basse, is a collection of interviews with Franck Médioni (MF, 2008). This book was translated into English at Kadima (Israel). She was named “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite“  and most recently “Chevalier de l’ordre des Art et des Lettres” (France).

The course

Attendance as an actual student is €300; free access for auditors (subject to availability). Max number of participants: 16 people.

Lessons begin on 02/07/2022 and end on 06/07/2022 (total no. 5 effective days). The course will be held in English/Italian/French. Lessons will be held at CDM’s premises.

The cost of the course includes:

  1. Daily group lessons (ensemble or chamber groups) with Joëlle Léandre and BlueRing Improvisers
  2. The possibility of attending all the lessons and/or seminar and lectures s held during the course
  3. The performance (and recording) of the pieces presented during the masterclass in a public concert organised by Foresty International Music Festival
  4. The use of study spaces, whose hours will be self-managed by the students and coordinated with the activities taking place. 
  5. Issue of certificates of participation authenticated by the teacher and the organisation
  6. The possibility, in the days following the course, to stay at CdM San Michele to professionally record at an advantageous price. For further information, please write to

Deadline for registration is: 30 May 2022.

By the 6th of June you will be informed about the selection of the participants to the masterclass; you will receive an email with a summary of the data and details of the payment, which must be made by bank transfer. Within a week after receiving the email you will have to pay the first instalment (amounting to €150). With the payment of the first instalment you confirm your enrolment in the course. The second instalment (€150) can be paid by the end of the 20 June.

You can choose whether to pay for the whole stay together with the second instalment, or to pay 50% with the second instalment and pay the remaining 50% on arrival. The costs of the stay are €40 per day for the days of the course (total €200), €25 for each additional night before or after the course.

Any bank charges and fees shall be at the expense of the applicant.

Board and Accommodation

Casa San Michele offers accommodation in affiliated facilities (flats) in the village of Montaldeo (AL) at a cost of €40 per day (total no. 5 actual days). If necessary, the structure is available to those who wish to stay the night before or after the beginning and the end of the course (upon reservation) at an additional cost of €25 per night. The cost includes overnight stay in a double or triple room with private bathroom and dinner (the latter at the CDM facility), served in the dining room or in the garden.

Water is always available in the common area of CDM; other consumptions will be considered extra. The lunch break is at your own discretion: two affiliated restaurants and a grocery shop are within easy walking distance, so you can choose from sandwiches to traditional dishes. The cost of lunch is not included in the cost; however, the use of the SPA is included, limited to the times agreed on the occasion of the course and in accordance with current regulations. Rubber slippers (non-slip) and a swimming costume are compulsory for use of the SPA.

The balance of any extras can also be paid on the spot by credit or debit card or bank transfer.

Please note that in the village of Montaldeo there are no tobacconists, pharmacies or ATMs; all necessary services are easily accessible by car or bicycle in the neighboring villages.

How to reach us

The nearest railway stations are Ovada, Novi Ligure, Arquata Scrivia; a transfer service is available from the arrival station to Montaldeo at a cost of €15. The nearest airports are Turin, Milan, Genoa, with respective train connections. For those traveling by car, Google Maps shows the exact location by searching for “Casa San Michele Montaldeo”; the nearest motorway exits are Ovada (A26), Novi Ligure (A26/A7), Arquata Scrivia (A7).


Registration fees, net of bank charges, will not be refunded under any circumstances, except in the event of cancellation of a course due to force majeure or failure to reach a minimum number of participants. The accommodation fee, net of bank charges, is refundable in the event of cancellation by the participant.

Covid-19 regulations

CdM San Michele, in addition to taking all possible precautions and necessary equipment on site to prevent contagion and to comply with current regulations, will communicate after the registration the protocol to be followed for a course and a stay as safe as possible.


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