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Muse-IC : when science and music meet


The Muse-IC project offers six composers the opportunity to create a musical work directly inspired by a recent high-level scientific discovery in the fields of astrophysics, biology, and biophysics.

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Commissioning six composers to write a piece based on a scientific discovery is the original project of Judith Miné-Hattab, a CNRS researcher at the Institut Curie. Each composer has written a work, from solo to septet, that reflects the beauty of a recent scientific discovery in astrophysics, biology and biophysics.

This concert is the result of a collaboration between these composers and researchers from the Institut Curie (Paris), the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (Orsay), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston).

The project is supported by the University of Paris Sciences et Lettres and the Institut Curie.


When music and science meet

Music and science have often been linked in the history of music. Until the middle of the 20th century, most of the music inspired by science was related to physics and mathematics. With the considerable progress made in biology, especially since the discovery of the structure of DNA, biology has also begun to serve as a source of musical inspiration. Some scientific concepts or measures have sometimes been converted directly into music, in other cases a scientific discovery has simply animated the imagination of composers.

The Muse-IC project aims to give composers this opportunity by commissioning a work inspired by a recent scientific discovery. Six composers have been selected to compose a ten-minute work, which may include up to eight musicians: piano, string quartet, clarinet, harp, percussion. Following a call to scientists motivated by the idea of interacting with composers, the composers chose the scientific theme that inspired them the most among fifteen recent findings, pre-selected by Judith Miné-Hattab. During their creative processes, composers interacted with the implicated researchers in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their subject and enrich their pieces.

The outcome of the project is a concert that combines the popularization of science and the promotion of contemporary music. This concert will promote encounters between musicians, scientists and the general public and will raise awareness of the importance of basic science in our society among a non-scientific audience.

The pieces will be performed by musicians of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Orchestre Nationale de France who are all pursuing brilliant careers in chamber music.


Genesis of the project

Judith Miné-Hattab, a biophysicist at the Institut Curie/CNRS, is also a musician. After studying piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, she obtained her master's degree in physics at the University of Paris XI and her PhD thesis at the Institut Curie in Paris while continuing to practice chamber music, particularly duets with violinists. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York (USA) between 2008 and 2012, and, between 2008 and 2010, she participated in the evening music classes at the Juillard school of New York. She continued her postdoc at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris until 2013. Since 2013, she has been a researcher at the CNRS and the Institut Curie, in the team of Angela Taddei (UMR3664, Nuclear Dynamics).

In order to naturally bring together her two passions, she initiated this project and obtained funding within the framework of the interdisciplinary call for projects "Aux Frontières des Labex" launched by the University Paris Sciences et Lettres in 2015.



Composers and scientists  

Geoffrey Gordon septuor for string quartet, piano, harp, clarinet

subject: The first vibrations of the universe and the quest for the first galaxy clusters

Hervé Dole, Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris-Saclay, France


Amir Bitran sextuor for violon, viola, cello, piano, clarinet, percussions 

subject: The Loop-extrusion model

Leonid Mirny, MIT, USA, Amir Bitran, Harvard University Program in Biophysics, USA


Emmanuel Hieaux septuor for string quartet, piano, clarinet, marimba

subject: DNA break: a multi-scale dance

Judith Miné-Hattab, Rodney Rothstein laboratory, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA


Denis Ramos septuor for string quartet, harp, clarinet, marimba

subject: The crucial hours that shape you

Team Nathalie Dostatni, Institut Curie, Paris, France


Alexandra du Bois quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet

subject: When our cells sleep: Quiescence and Renaissance

Team Angela Taddei, Institut Curie, Paris, France


Jean-Marie Gagez cello solo

subject: The first vibrations of the universe and the quest for the first galaxy clusters

Hervé Doyle, Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris-Saclay, France

Voir les biographies et notes de programmes des compositeurs sur cette page.


Next concert:

The compositions will be created Salle Cortot on March 12th 2019, 8:30  (Paris 17e).

Free entrance.



Marc Desmons, direction

Gabriel Benlolo, percussions

Christelle Pochet, clarinet

Catherine Cournot, piano

Joseph André, Cyril Baleton, violins

Julien Dabonneville, viola

Pauline Bartissol, cello

Nicolas Tulliez, harp


Team of the project

Judith Miné-Hattab: coordinator, Institut Curie

Garance Alberman: artistic coordinator, composers pre-selection 

Fanny Gascuel : manager of the labex DEEP, Institut Curie

Scientific committee:

Judith Miné-Hattab, CNRS researcher, Institut Curie, UMR Nuclear Dynamics, Paris

Guille Orsi, INSERM researcher, Institut Curie, UMR Nuclear Dynamics, Paris

Peter Thorpe, researcher team leader, The Francis Crick Institute, London

Philippe Miné, Research emeritus CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, University Paris Saclay

Artistic committee:

Steve Beck: Pianist, composers selection

Assaff Weisman, Pianist,

                            Juilliard School (New York) Evening Division Piano Faculty

                            Executive Director, Israeli Chamber Project



This project has been realized in the contex of "Idex" ANR-10-IDEX-0001-02-PSL.

We would like to thank the "Université Paris Sciences et Lettres", the Deep Labex, the Leonid Mirny Laboratory for their financial support, as well as Angela Taddei for her support all along the project. We thank the "Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris" for their advices. 

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