Marie-Anouch Sarkissian is a pianist and musicologist whose muse inhabits the fragrance universe. Inspired by souvenirs, colours and images, the French musician invites the spectator’s mind to wander into a scented bubble, lulled by the rhythm of an original piece of classical music.
A duo of senses
Have you heard of synaesthesia? It’s a neurological phenomenon that mixes several senses. When I was a musicology and pianist student, I was very interested by the idea of associating scents and sounds. At first, it was an intuitive approach but I wanted to master this art. So I met with great perfumers who guided me and helped me understand the links and contrasts between music and perfume. Ever since, I’ve liked being in the midst of the mechanism of a perfume’s creation and figuring out the beauty of a floral composition
Scent of the music
Before writing my music, I like to inhale the fragrance then I work from the memory of what I first smelt. Images, colours, ideas and souvenirs come to me. In my work, I also like to remain close to natural elements so I compose on an acoustic piano. I find the sounds are richer in harmonies and there are a lot of resonances when I play. I don’t use a computer even when I write, all my notes are handwritten and my main inspiration comes from classical musical. Then, I am completely free to create according to my feelings.
It’s all about the creative dialogue based on the interactions between music and perfume. In both universes, there is a search of harmony but there are also necessary contrasts. It’s really interesting to understand how those dissonances can form a magnificent esthetical balance. Indeed, false notes can sound magical if they are played very well technically. It’s also the beauty of l’Eau d’Issey whose aqua notes are born from the confluence of matters of synthesis and natural materials like the white lily or the lotus. When it’s masterly carried out, it creates a form of grace but it’s a tour de force to get there.
I’ve always been deeply connected with nature especially water. I’m from the Mediterranean; the aquatic element has always inspired me in my life and my own artistic career. It’s quite obvious to me I have a particular sensitivity to aquatic perfumes particularly those created by Issey Miyake. With their marine notes, l’Eau d’Issey and l’Eau d’Issey pour Homme are both historical fragrances that still influence perfumers today and inspire me greatly. So how can I associate music with those perfumes and translate their fluidity, their blue aquatic transparency? As a musician, it’s quite difficult to explain what I feel; I think my music speaks better than words.
Credits photos :
Image Source: header
Lykke Stjernswärd: image 1 (left)
Lu ShaoJi: image 1 (right)
Marie-Anouch Sarkissian (video)