Marc Couroux is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is rooted in his experiences as a contemporary music pianist. Acclaimed as “the Glenn Gould of contemporary music” (Musicworks), he won the OPUS Award of the Conseil Québécois de la Musique in 1998 for his work in disseminating Canadian piano music around the world (Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Ludwigsburg, Paris). He is co-founder, with Michael Oesterle, of Ensemble KORE, which has been producing concerts in Montreal since 1997 that are dedicated to recreating a living relationship between the composer and the listener.
Professor Couroux’ early piano performance works centred on the reinvention and renewal of the audience-performer dialectic, challenging the received notion of the performer’s physical presence within the socio-political confines of the public event. His pieces include the monumental American Dreaming John Cassavetes (1999) and le contrepoint académique (sic) (2000), a work described as “controversial”, “demented” and “illuminated”, that was featured at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville.
As a video/sound artist, Professor Couroux is concerned with creating metaphorical spaces for the exploration of socio-political issues. His Rockford – Keep on Rolling superimposes images from the 1970s TV show onto a power grid, reflecting the other Los Angeles, plunged into rolling blackouts during the energy crisis of 2000. Rockford has been presented at a number of international festivals including the Club Transmediale in Berlin
Blowback at Breakfast: a Dr. Kissinger Mystery (2003) for piano and 17 mini-speakers creates a Watergate-era environment centred around wiretapping and surveillance, with Henry Kissinger as main protagonist-pianist, dryly reciting congressional testimony while simultaneously leaking vital secrets to the listener. The large-scale audio-video performance work Watergating (Selected Hearings), presented at the 2006 Vasistas festival in Montreal, investigates concepts of hearing and listening through the lens of the 1973-4 Watergate scandal in the US.
In 2007, Marc Couroux launched two offshoots of Watergating. Carpenters et al, Downey Lyrical Holdings, a Real-Time System as of March 29, 2007, a piece concerned with exploring, through non-technological means, concepts emanating from and associated with technology, was performed by neither/nor in Toronto. The Fetishization of Music and the Regression in Listening, presented in Edmonton as part of Latitude 53’s Visualeyez festival of interdisciplinary art, was a performance intervention designed to operate a form of Situationist détournement on the muzak environment.
Professor Couroux is developing a six-hour audio-video installation titled 68/70 (blindspots) (truth 24 times per second). Several sections of the work were screened in 2009 at CounterPULSE in San Francisco, in an event organized by the interdisciplinary organization NexMap.
Professor Couroux has been artist-in-residence at Princeton University and visiting professor at the University of Alberta and Dartington College of Arts, UK, and has lectured on music and video art at McGill and Concordia Universities, Montreal; Stony Brook and the Eastman School of Music, NY; York University, UK; and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in the Netherlands. He joined York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts in 2006.