Florent Héau and the “Bons Becs”: interview

Photo credit: Jean-Marc Volta
How did “Les Bons Becs” come into your career? F.H. : “We made our first choreographic tests when I just had won the Toulon International Competition. That is to say that there was no really a career plan, but what is certain is that there was a great desire to have fun with friends! It happened like that at that time, I simply wanted to live and assume to do what made me vibrate, sincerely and without any calculation.”
Can we say that they finally added one more string to your bow? F.H.: “Yes! In fact, my artistic life was quickly divided between three activities: classical concerts, Bons Becs shows, and teaching. Even if such a path may seem a little atypical, we live, and fortunately, in an era where artistic choices outside the usual frameworks are quite easily accepted and respected. I have always made choices from the heart and from conviction! Personally, I find this alternation of the classical recital with the performances of Les Bons Becs rather amusing. it corresponds, for example, to playing while tap dancing one week, and creating the Hersant concerto or giving a masterclass the following week! For me, it has become a way of life. In the end, this atypical mix of activities is a bit like a permanent split and it brings me a form of balance and artistic pleasure”.
Florent Héau, here with the brilliant accordionist Théo Ould. Find all videos of this exceptional duet on our Vandoren TV channel.
How do these show influence your other activities? F.H.: “Each show stimulates my creative side. And also my recreational side! They were an opportunity to train me in tap dancing, to learn the musical saw or to develop shows with a “plombinette” (instrument from the “castoramaphone” family, an exclusive “Bons Becs”!). The particular experience of the show is very enriching. We learn to occupy the stage space, we explore body languages, through dance or unconventional playing postures, we touch on comedy, and the relationship with the public is very special. All this ends up impregnating our personalities, and I also feel it as a classical musician and teacher. I think I have both a traditional and personal approach to teaching; even if I do not insist on the particular work of Les Bons Becs, I have a certain way of seeing or feeling things, which is there, in me, whatever happens. »
With Bruno Desmouillières, the fondamental Bons Becs’s drummer!
Photo credit: Jean-Marc Volta
What advice would you give to young people who would like to start building a show? F.H.: “First of all, to have a taste for it and a strong desire! Getting into the show also requires having a minimum of ease to move and express yourself in addition to the instrument. In general, the beginnings are vertiginous! Putting on a show is a huge job, and the final form has to be created entirely. Let me explain: when you start working on a concerto, the form exists from the beginning and in a way, it’s much easier to project yourself. To build a show is to set out into the unknown. The brilliant counterpart is that everything remains possible and imaginable! Also, it is essential to surround yourself with people you trust, musicians as well as directors. It is a job that puts everyone face to face with themselves, their possibilities as well as their difficulties. You have to learn to allow yourself a different learning time and to be patient. »
A quick word, to finish, on the role of Vandoren equipment? F.H.: “We attach great importance to musical quality, which is a challenge with this kind of show, which is sometimes acrobatic. We are therefore attentive to the material, that is to say the clarinets, mouthpieces, reeds, ligatures, which allow us to obtain the sound that we are looking for and a certain flexibility and ease despite the difficulties due to staging, and thus to express ourselves freely, and fully! I recently adopted the pink gold finish Optimum ligature. It allows an ease of emission, coupled with a particular softness and roundness of sound. It brings a particular brilliance to the sound, which touches me a lot! »
Florent Héau plays a Vandoren Black Diamond BD5 mouthpiece, V•12 n°3,5 reeds and a pink gold finish OPTIMUM ligature.