Les Percussions de Strasbourg | music in the belly (1975)

  • 10.09.2022

Les Percussions de Strasbourg | music in the belly (1975)

Composition: Karlheinz Stockhausen

Concept, staging, electronics: Simon Steen-Andersen

In 1975 Karlheinz Stockhausen composed an enigmatic work for les Percussions de Strasbourg. The score contained more stage directions than music – and the music consisted of twelve melodies linked to the signs of the zodiac, the Tierkreis cycle, and embodied in music boxes that the composer had made himself. The idea for the piece and its title came from his daughter Julika’s surprise when, at the age of two, she discovered small noises inside her, stomach rumbling: “You have music in your belly”, told his father. A few years later, he suddenly woke up one morning after dreaming the piece and put it down on paper.

Nearly fifty years after the composition and premiere of the work at the Royan Festival, les Percussions de Strasbourg have asked Simon Steen-Andersen to imagine a new interpretation and staging. While remaining faithful to the score and without changing a single note, the Danish artist proposes his vision of the work’s potential for the eyes and ears of today through the use of simple scenic concepts and technologies directly inspired by other pieces by Stockhausen. A simple question guided Steen-Andersen’s approach: what could MUSIC IN THE BELLY have looked and sounded like inside Stockhausen’s dream, even before he woke up?


  • 19 January 2023 – Hellerau, Dresden, Germany