Nomadic Night

POSTPONEMENT | Maya Dunietz Maya Dunietz plays Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

Location: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, view access map

This Nomadic Night is over

See upcoming Nomadic Nights


POSTPONEMENT | Due to the current health situation, and in agreement with the artist who has to travel from abroad, we prefer to postpone the Nomadic Night "Maya Dunietz plays Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou" (initially scheduled on Monday, November 2) to a later date we will communicate to you soon. People who booked their seats for this Nomadic Night will be contacted by email as quickly as possible.

In 2006, the legendary Éthiopiques collection revealed the musical compositions of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, a 97-year-old Ethiopian nun living in an Ethiopian monastery in Jerusalem. That year, Israeli sound artist and pianist Maya Dunietz made her acquaintance. Around 2010, Emahoy approached Dunietz in a request for collaboration, their friendship evolved and, since then, Dunietz has been working to make the music and fascinating life of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou known to the world. This Ethiopian artist was born into the aristocratic milieu of Addis Ababa and destined for a career as a classical composer. However, her ambitions were prevented by the Emperor and as a result, she chose to retire from the world, becoming a nun at the age of 23.

With great subtlety and skill, Maya Dunietz reinterprets this extremely rare repertoire on the piano: melodies tinged with a melancholy joy, at the crossroads of Chopin and Alice Coltrane, Erik Satie and Charles Mingus, a liturgical blues that fuses European influences and Ethiopian tradition. For these two Nomadic Nights events, Maya Dunietz also shares some rare images and footage of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, a testimony of their meeting and friendship, which she shares with the public for the first time.

Hers is a classical music, with a very special relationship to time, space and landscape (…) it is not on a grandiose scale but is instead intimate, natural, honest and very feminine. It is delicate but profound and all her compositions tell stories of time and place.” Maya Dunietz

“Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is a pianist and composer. Her life’s work. All the rest is just frustrated destiny and sadness.” Francis Falceto (founder of the Éthiopiques collections)

Born in 1981 in Tel Aviv, Maya Dunietz is a pianist, composer, singer, choir director and creator of sound installations. In the 2000s, she embarked on multiple musical experiences and interpretations, combining avant-garde technology and old, traditional techniques. She has created sound installations for sites such as Luna Park in Berlin, the Swiss Pavilion of the Venice Biennale (2011), the Palais de Tokyo (2014) and Centre Georges Pompidou (2018). Since 2013, the artist has developed a unique tribute to Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, an Ethiopian pianist and composer.

Born in 1923 in Addis Ababa under the name Yewubdar Gebru, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou is an Ethiopian nun, primarily known as a composer and pianist. She discovered Western music and studied the violin in Switzerland. Back in Ethiopia, she attended the imperial court and developed her feminist convictions. Following the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, during which she and her family were taken prisoner, her request to study piano on a scholarship in England was refused by the Emperor. Disappointed, she ran away from the life she had once known and became a nun at the age of 23. She continued to study sacred music and released her first album in 1967. She was rediscovered years later after she had spent several decades living as a recluse in an Ethiopian monastery in Jerusalem. Three tribute concerts were held in Jerusalem in 2013 to celebrate her 90th birthday.

In the press:

- The extraordinary life of Ethiopia's 93-year-old singing nun