Henri Tournier studied Western classical music with Roger Bourdin at Versailles Conservatoire and then with Fernand Caratgé at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. It was Roger Bourdin, renowned soloist and an eclectic musician, who transmitted his passion for improvisation to him.
A laureate of the George Cziffra and Yehudi Menuhin foundations, parallel
to his chamber music concerts, Henri Tournier started developing his own
language of improvisation in the context of music for contemporary
ballet, mainly with the Peter Goss company.
Since 1989 he has been following the teachings of Pandit Hariprasad
Chaurasia, during many stays in Mumbai, then at Rotterdam Conservatoire where he has been working with him for fifteen years as an assistant-guest teacher.
In Mumbai he was also tutored by Pandit Malhar Kulkarni. Henri Tournier has accompanied Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia at various concerts. In 1999-2000, he was
deeply involved in the creation and interpretation of his Bansuri concerto «Adi Anant».
As one of the few musicians both active in music research and in Indian classical music, Henri Tournier has successfully included the Bansuri in the contemporary repertoire, by creating many music works. He has multiplied his musical experiences
by playing with the Ensembles Nyssa, Henri Agnel, Pablo Cueco’s Transes Européennes, Aman-Salon de Musique, Millenarium, the Hyksos Duo, the Hardy-Tournier-Roy Trio, Sangeet Ensemble with Sharmila Sharma and Prabhu Edouard, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Willem Tanke, among others.
He has worked for many years with «Accords Croisés» as a guest musician within various original projects of « World Music » encounters : Mahwash (Afghanistan) & Jordi Savall’s Hesperion XXI, Keyvan Chemirani’s Beats of the oriental heart (Iran/India/Greece), Houria Aïchi (Algeria), Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia), Abida Parveen (Pakistan), Liu Fang, Lingling Yu (China) and as specialist consultant within
projects such as Afghan Ghazals by Mahwash, or Frederic Leclair’s movie Ravi Shankar’s Extraordinary Lesson broadcast by Arte (DVD « Accords Croisés » collection.
From 1983-2005 Henri Tournier taught at the Municipal Conservatoire of Paris and from 1989-1991 at the National Conservatoire of Reunion Island where he organized cultural
exchanges with India and Mauritius. At the Conservatoire of Rotterdam-Codarts, Henri Tournier created his improvisation class and supervised the students’ Master artistic researches.
He as been appointed since September 2016 as teacher of Indian Classical Music in the "Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris".
Member of the French Society of Ethnomusicology, he holds the French Teacher Certification for Traditional Music (2001), participated in music symposium and conferences (Sangeet Research Academy at Mumbay, Rotterdam – Cité de la
Musique de Paris - Inalco Paris…) and has been teaching modal improvisation in the Framework of master-classes, worshops and residences.
Le nouvel Observateur
N° 2400 4 novembre 2010 p.128