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At turns somber, moving and uplifting, Thomas Roussel’s composition for AFD has launched a new year whose spirit we hope will prove to be more “in common” than ever before, one in which we move towards our goals, which contribute to the collective good.

Violinist by training, Thomas Roussel, has worked on a number of iconic projects, including Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, a collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, a concert in Beijing’s Forbidden City, as well as the composition of a number of film scores such as the documentary, “A few degrees less.” 

As countries imposed restrictions of movement to contain the rapidly spreading Coronavirus last spring, Roussel organized recording sessions of some 200 musicians on lockdown all over the world. Born of this feat of overcoming the challenges of vast distances and divergent time zones, Roussel then made a proposal to Agence Française de Développement. Having discussed the project with AFD teams, Thomas Roussel composed a piece that was then performed at the Seine Musicale music and performing arts center in December. 

If ever there were a soundtrack for a budding World in Common, this may be it.

With notes both sonorous and soaring, including both solo and collective performances, the orchestra itself is the epitome of diversity. We hear not only violins and cellos but also the quanun from North Africa, the Mongolian morin khuur, the Chinese guzheng, as well as percussions from across Africa and Latin America. 

“I tried to convey various emotions in this piece: light, hope, strength and togetherness,” said Thomas Roussel. “It was obvious we had to do this, at the end of such a year. This was also our chance to play together again, which we hadn’t done since last February. And it gave us immense pleasure to play with musicians from all over the world!”