Eric Bellocq studied the guitar with Alexandre Lagoya at the Paris Conservatory, where he also graduated with a First Prize. He played the theorbo in the Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants, directed by William Christie, from 1983 to 1990; during this period he also regularly took part in opera productions and concert performances with La Chapelle Royale, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Les Talens Lyriques, La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy, Le Concert Spirituel, Akâdemia, Le concert d'Astrée and La Fenice.
Since 1990 he has concentrated on solo performances and his role as lutenist in the Ensemble Clément Janequin, directed by Dominique Visse. Eric Bellocq accompanies Dominique Visse with the jazz pianist François Couturier in recitals of music ranging from Machaut to Berio; and with the juggler Vincent de Lavenère has created the staged show Le chant des balles - an encounter of early music, improvisation and juggling.
Eric Bellocq has made numerous recordings for Accord, Adès, Alpha, Claves, Decca, Erato, harmonia mundi, Vérany, Virgin, Zig-Zag Territoires and also Frame (solo CD), King Records (Japan) with Dominique Visse, Naxos with a duo recital with Massimo Moscardo, and Pure Classics with Jean-Paul Fouchécourt. He teaches at the Paris Conservatory.
As well as his solo recitals on the lute, theorbo and Renaissance guitar, Eric Bellocq also proposes the following programme with Malcolm Bottwell, viola da gamba, and Jean-Michel Gianelli, percussions :
This programme is centered on Pierre Attaignant's Paris editions of 1529 and 1530, the first two books of dances and songs for lute ever published in France. The music is full of the vitality dear to Rabelais where vigour is no stranger to poetry.
A mixture of written and improvised music
A few enigmatic lines of music, entitled "subjectum", were added to the traditional lute tablature and are played here by the viol. These "Subjects", of a very simple nature, are the pretext for personal elaborations, both written and improvsied . The percussion, as is customary, is entirely improvised.
Lute, viol and zarb or bendir bring us close to the sound of Oriental music. Moreover, the frequent use of a single melody played simultaneously by several instruments ornamenting very differently, is strikingly akin to many orally-transmitted musical traditions - a fitting setting for pieces all stemming from popular, living 16th-century traditions, of which the learned composers were proud.
Basses dances « Sansserre » and « Beure frais »
Tant que vivray (improvisation on the chanson by Cl. SERMISY); Pavane (No. 43) and Sauterelle
Branle gay « Cest mon amy »; Branle « Nicolas mon beau frere »
Prelude (No. 4); « Le jaulne & blanc » (based on the chanson by ANONYMUS « Le jaulne & bleu »); Basse dance and recoupe « La brosse »; Haulberroys and Branles de Poictou (No. 28 and 29)
Gaillardes (No. 55 and 61)
Prelude (No. 5); La guerre; Basse dance « Puisquen deux cueurs » « I had enough » (based on the chanson by Cl. SERMISY)
Branle « Allez dire a ceux d’Amboyse »; Branles de Poictou (No. 26 and 27) and tordion (No. 1)
DiscographyEric Bellocq's discography with extracts can be consulted on his website at this link
Photo Eric Larrayadieu