Deleuzabelli Variations # 4

Paulo de Assis, HERMESensemble


Grounded in Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy, William Kindermans’s book Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations (1987), and Michel Butor’s Dialogue avec 33 variations de Ludwig van Beethoven sur une valse de Diabelli (1971), the Deleuzabelli Variations expose Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, op. 120, to several musical encounters, letting other times and styles interfere with Beethoven and making unconnected connections happen. In the time frame of the original piece, diverse techniques of elimination, substitution, and replacement are used. Alongside interventions from other times and styles, including composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Cramer, six new pieces were especially written for this performance.

The title is a triple homage: to Beethoven, Gilles Deleuze, and Anton Diabelli. Beethoven’s music functions as the backbone of the performance, while Deleuze’s idea of differential repetition provides a sort of method related to processes of continuous transformation and permanent becoming; and Diabelli’s name must be highly praised, for without him none of this would ever have happened.


concert programme

audio recording

video interview with Paulo de Assis


about the author(s)

Paulo de Assis

Paulo de Assis is Fellow Researcher at the Oprpheus Institute, Ghent and  general chair of the DARE conferences. He is an artist-researcher with transdisciplinary interests on Philosophy, French Post-Structuralism, and Epistemology.

He studied Piano with Vitaly Margulis and Alexis Weissenberg (a.o.) and Musicology with Jürg Stenzl and André Richard (a.o.), receiving a PhD and a post-doctoral appointment on the works of Luigi Nono. Commissioned by the Foundation Giorgio Cini (Venice, 2003), he completed Camillo Togni’s Piano concerto—a piece that remained unfinished at the composer’s death.

Between 2009 and 2012 he was Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music (CESEM) at the University Nova Lisbon and Research Fellow at the Orpheus Research Centre in Music [ORCiM].

For the period 2013-2018 he was granted a European Research Council Starting Grant for the project “Experimentation versus Interpretation: exploring new paths in music performance in the twenty-first century,” hosted at the Orpheus Institute, in Ghent (Belgium). He has authored two books (on the music of Luigi Nono and Camillo Togni) and edited four others (on music notation and on contemporary composers).

info & contact


Orpheus Institute, Ghent, BE


paulo.deassis [AT]



HERMESensemble Antwerp is a collective of contemporary music and art. The repertoire and performance practice of the classical avant-garde forms the starting point of the productions, but the ensemble strives consciously to shift artistic boundaries: on the one hand seeking confrontations with early music, pop, and non-Western music, on the other hand examining synergies with other disciplines, such as (music) theatre, visual arts, video, film, and multimedia. Many of their concerts are characterised by an explicit visual character, such as the projects with PELLICULES. The concerts will often take place in appropriate locations, such as in an industrial architectural space or in an exhibition. HERMESensemble has developed its expertise in contemporary musical expression by investigating the performance practices of the American, Belgian, German, French, and Italian avant-gardes. It creates and presents contemporary works by several internationally renowned composers and artists, usually in close personal collaboration. In addition, the range of activities of the ensemble prioritises promoting young home-grown talent and creating new Flemish work. Hermes Ensemble is supported by the Flemish Government.

info & contact


Collective of contemporary music and art, Antwerp, BE


info [AT]