Michel Doneda

Born Brive, France, 1954; soprano saxophone.

Michel Doneda has been involved with music since he was 15 years old in the Harmonie Municipale and through playing in several dance bands; his first instrument was the alto saxophone. In 1980, in Toulouse, he created the reeds trio 'Hic et Nunc' with Steve Robbins and Didier Masmalet and, in collaboration with Théâtre de l'Acte, began l'Institut de Recherches et d'Echanges Artistiques (I.R.E.A.) comprising actors, poets, and musicians all interested in the possibilities of improvisation. At the same time, he played with the musicians of the collective G.R.I.M. in Marseille as well as the 'Tour de France' organised by Louis Sclavis. There, he met the singer Beñat Achiary with whom he has continued his musical relationship to the present day. Exchanges and meetings increased via the festival of Chantenay-Villedieu and the nato label: meetings with Fred Van Hove, Raymond Boni, Steve Beresford, Tony Hymas, Lol Coxhill, Joêlle Léandre, Phil Wachsman, John Zorn and Ravi Prasad, among others.

In 1986, Michel Doneda worked with the 'Compagnie du Hasard' and toured Poland, Spain, South America and Hungary; it was from the tour of Poland that the trio of Daunik Lazro/ Lê Quan Ninh/Michel Doneda was formed and they have since given concerts in Europe and Canada. Between 1986 and 1990, Doneda formed a trio with the violinist Alexander Balanescu and Beñat Achiary, and a quartet 'Terra' with Achiary, Lê Quan Ninh and Dominique Regef (hurdy-gurdy). Also in this period, he set up 'Le Grand Huit', improvisation music-theatre with the actor Michel Mathieu and Lê Quan Ninh, and the 'Diseurs de Musique' with the poet Serge Pey, Daunik Lazro and Lê Quan (premiered at Radio-France). Doneda's work with Lê Quan Ninh continues with the trio 'Soc' (Lê Quan, Regef, Michel Doneda) and Open Paper Tree (with Paul Rogers, doublebass).

In 1990, Doneda created the label Sonographica with percussionist and composer Alain Joule to investigate the possibilities of mixed media such as music, painting and literature; the first release on the label was Le Chameau d'Ispahan. The association with Joule has continued until the present, incorporating a radiophonic creation 'Voyage Sonore' in Provence-Côte d'Azur with the Groupe de Musique Electroacoustique d'Albi (G.M.E.A.), Barre Philipps, and the movie-director Robert Kramer; and in 1995 Doneda and Joule worked in a trio completed by Tetsu Saitoh (double bass). His work with Barre Philipps is similarly long-standing, incorporating a trio at the beginning of the 1990s; 'Voyage Sonore'; a 1994 European tour with Fifth Season: Barre Philipps's trio plus Kazue Sawai (kotos), Tetsu Saitoh, Martin Schütz (cello) and Hans Burgener (violin); and 1995 concerts in Calabra (Italy) in a trio completed by Sebi Tramontana (tb).

Other invovlements have included: a 1993 itinerant trip in Gabon to meet local musicians; the premiere of the trio Elliott Sharp/Jin Hi Kim/Michel Doneda at the festival 'Musique Action' in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy; Dirty Leaves, a trio with Robert Dick (flutes) and Steve Robbins (saxes); Idiome 1238 with Dominique Répécaud (el. g), Olivier Paquotte (el. b), Daniel Koskowitz (dr), Jacques Debout (recycled records), Fabrice Charles (tb), Jean Pallandre (loud speakers) and Lê Quan Ninh; and Quanta with Mari Kimura (violin, computer), Jean Pallandre (tapes), Vincent Geais (mélissons), Marc Pichelin (analog synthesizer) and Lê Quan Ninh (percussion & computer).

Michel Doneda is a member of the Association La Flibuste engaged in the organisation and presentation of improvisation in relation to others art forms. The members of the Association La Flibuste are Lê Quan Ninh, Emmanuel Petit (g), Fabrice Charles (tb), Ly Thanh Tiên (actor/dancer), Isabelle Folliot (plastic artist), Vincent Geais, Marc Pichelin and Jean Pallandre (electroacoustic musicians), Frédérique Baritaud (painter), Béatrice Slasak (experimental cinema), Pascal Delhay (dancer), Ronald Curchod (graphic artist, painter), Philippe Besse (mathematician, violin) and Christian Monsarrat (video). Numerous mixed media performances have been organised since 1994. Association La Flibuste runs it's own CD label - Poil - whose first release was Eclipses by Michel Doneda and Jean Pallandre.

Further information

Blackford, Chris (1995), Michel Doneda: sound chaser. Rubberneck, no. 17, pp. 4-11.


1985, Terra, nato 532. With Wachsmann, Achiary, Siracusa, Masmalet.
1987, Joyeux Noël, nato 1382. Compilation featuring various musicians.
1988, Général Gramofon, nato 1600. With Doneda-Lazro.
1988, Bandes original du journal de Spirou, nato 1715/1774. Compilation album.
1989, Arranoa, Ocora C 559045. Beñat Achiary.
1992, Egyptian Fantasy, nato 53001. A duo with Elvin Jones on a compilation CD dedicated to Sidney Bechet.
1988, Lazro/Doneda/Lê Quan, Van d'Oeuvre 8903 (LP) & In Situ 037 (CD).
1991, L'élémentaire sonore, In situ 107. Solo
1992, Eclipses, Poil 7792.
1992, Soc In Situ 163. Doneda/Regef/Lê Quan.
1992, No pieces émouvance 1003. Barre's trio.
1993, Tourneries, Vand'Oeuvre VDO 9306. Dominique Regef's solo recording featuring Michel Doneda.
1993, Le chameau d'Ispahan, NIL 84327.
1993, Sept vibrations, NIL 84329.
1994, Open Paper Tree, FMP CD 68. Rogers/Doneda/Lê Quan.
1994, Ogooue-Ogoway, Transes Europeennes 003.
1995, Idiome 1238, 33Revpermi 9506.
1995, Ce n'est pourtant, L'empreinte digiale ED 13056. Michel Doneda/Beñat Achiary.
1995, M'uoaz, Scissors 002. Michel Doneda/Tetsu Saïtoh/Alain Joule.
1995, Les diseurs de musique, Vand'Oeuvre VD0 9814.
1996, Instant songs, For 4 Ears CD 821.
1996, le festival de l'eau, Vand'Oeuvre VD0 9917. Camel Zekri.
1997, Hyperion, Hurta Cordel LE.
1997, Temps couché, Victocd055. Michel Doneda/Beñat Achiary/Kazue Sawaï
1997, Graal pirate, Horlieu Production 69.
1997, Gaycre, Poil - Ouïe Dire Production 0897. Doneda/Pallandre/Charles
1997-1998, Montagne noire, Poil - Ouïe Dire Production 0797. Sassi/Doneda/Pichelin/Lê Quan
1998, Anatomie des clefs, Potlatch P 598. Solo.
1998, > Direct chamber, 33Revpermi 2002. Trio of Fabrice Charles/Michel Doneda/Günter Müller.
1998/9, Slide, Vand'Oeuvre VD0 9915. Dominique Grimaud.
1999, L'intense, For 4 Ears CD 1138.
1999, Not, Victocd068. Michel Doneda/Eric M/Jean-Marc Montera
1999, Ana ban In Situ 234. One track on Dominique Répécaud CD.
1999, Koh-Kan live at Seitan Ongakudo, Ohrai Records ORCD-003. Michel Doneda/Tetsu Saitoh.
1999, Pagan hymn, Jabara JAB-12. Michel Doneda/Tetsu Saitoh plus Chon Chul-Gi/Noriko Tsuboi/Zai Kuning.
1999, Three day moon, Sparkling Beatnik sbr0020. Kazue Sawai/Michel Doneda/Tetsu Saitoh.
2001, Spring Road 01, Scissors 003. Michel Doneda/Tetsu Saïtoh.
2001, Improvised music from Japan IMJ-10CD. One duo track on this 10-CD set.
2001, Brame, Ouïe Dire Production CPO209. Sassi/Doneda/Lê Quan/Monsarrat/Pallandre/Robins.
2001, Sopradino, Fringes 13. Doneda/Boulant.
2001/2002, The difference between a fish, Potlatch P 302. Doneda/Leimgruber/Rowe.
2002, Musiqueaction #03, Vand'Oeuvre VD0 0224. Duo with Martine Altenburger on compilation CD.
2002, Placés dans l'air, Potlatch P 103. Bosetti/Doneda/Rainey.
2003, Real time satellite data, SOFA 513. No Spaghetti Edition.
2003, Une chance pour l'ombre, Victocd094. Kazue Sawai/Michel Doneda/Kazuo Imai/Lê Quan Ninh/Tetsu Saitoh
2003, Improvised music from Japan 2004, Improvised Music from Japan IMJ-304. One track by Une chance pour l'ombre on compilation CD.
2003/2004, from between, soseditions 801. Doneda/Wright/Nakatani.
2004, Strom, Potlatch P 204. Baghdassarians/BaltschunBosetti/Doneda.
2004, Solo las planques, Sillón 1. Solo.
2004, La drache, Improvised Music from Japan IMJ-528. Duo with Katsura Yamauchi.
2005?, Breath on the floor, absinthRecords 007. Alessandro Bosetti/Michel Doneda.
2005, Le terrier, Monotype Records Mono 028. Michel Doneda/Olivier Toulemonde/Nicolas Desmarchelier.
2005, No stranger to air, Sprout 1. From between.
2009, The cigar that talks, Collection PiedNu PN0110. Doneda/Russell/Turner.
2009, Midhopestones, Another timbre at19. Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson.
2010, ///grape skin, Another timbre at42. Michel Doneda/Jonas Kocher/Christoph Schiller.
2011, Sitting on your stairs, Emanem 5028. Lol Coxhill/MIchel Doneda.
2012, Linge, Umlaut Records umfrcd-07. MIchel Doneda/Joris/Rühl.
2012, Everybody digs Michel Doneda, Relative Pitch Records RPR1027.
2014, Aplomb, Vand'Oeuvre VD0 1542. Michel Doneda/Lê Quan Ninh.

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