Sorry, your browser is not supported. Please use a modern browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.

Eric Sleichim

A life for the saxophone

Since 1983, the name Eric Sleichim has guaranteed very surprising compositions for theatre pieces, choreographies, performances, films, art videos, exhibitions and concerts, which he writes at the behest of very diverse organisers.

Sleichim studied at the conservatories of Brussels and Liège. In the 1980s, together with Thierry De Mey, Peter Vermeersch and Walter Hus, he founded the group Maximalist!, which conquered international stages with first productions by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Wim Vandekeybus. In 1988, he founded BL!NDMAN, a saxophone quartet with traditional instrumentation that developed new playing techniques and significantly expanded the repertoire for the instrument. He regularly performs with his saxophone quartet at home and abroad, where he also gives workshops based on non-conventional techniques.

As a composer-saxophonist, Sleichim is gaining international fame for his unusual approach to the instrument; he makes use of screeching feathers, valve sounds, thuds and smacks as well as the tonal qualities of the saxophone. What is traditionally considered an afterthought, he elevates to a main issue and uses it, often in combination with other art forms, to create never-before-heard worlds of sound.

In the mid-1990s, Eric Sleichim bridged the gap with other disciplines and focused on multimedia performances for the first time. As a composer, he creates music for theatre performances and writes original scores for live accompaniment to silent films. He also collaborates with choreographers such as Meg Stuart and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. For Jan Fabre, he creates the electro-acoustic score to the video installation/performance Angel of Death, – which he also performs live – and for L’Histoire des Larmes with which Fabre opens the Festival d’Avignon in 2005. For his part, Fabre writes the original text for Sleichim’s musical theatre Men in Tribulation for the KunstenFestivalDesArts and the HollandFestival.

In his search for untapped possibilities for the saxophone, Eric Sleichim traverses all eras, concentrating on early music around the turn of the 21st century. In 1999, he adapted Bach’s Chorale Partitas for organ into a reading for saxophones, BL!NDMAN plays BACH becoming a successful production that was invited several times by Philippe Herreweghe. Subsequently, he arranged polyphonic works from the 12th to 17th centuries for Multiple Voice in which the saxophone quartet multiplies itself to 36 voices by means of a delay system, and in Chromatic Variations, he polyphonically fuses his arrangements for the saxes of chromatic motets with a countertenor.

IN 2013, he focuses on the tubax, a new saxophone type with ultra-low range. Together with the saxophone quartet, he uses it to play brand-new arrangements of J.S.Bach’s monumental organ works in 32 Foot / the Organ of Bach, among others.

Electronics occupy an increasingly prominent place within Sleichim’s composition. Use of delay and real-time distortions open up a new dimension in the saxophone’s sound spectrum.

The new millennium also marks a period of frequent commissions for more extensive line-ups, and in particular with, in the meantime, the 4 BL!NDMAN quartets: BL!NDMAN [sax], BL!NDMAN [drums], BL!NDMAN [strings] and BL!NDMAN [hybrid].

From 2006 to 2010, Sleichim was composer-in-residence for four years at the institute of electro-acoustic recherche Le Grame in Lyon. In 2007, he curated the music festival Music@Venture at deSingel & Amuz. In his programme, which is built around exclusively living composers, he extensively covers electronics, other art forms and young musicians. Moreover, in 2011 Sleichim will also become house composer of the Antwerp museum MAS.

In 2007, he first created music for a production by Ivo van Hove, a collaboration made in heaven, which has since gone on to no fewer than 16 performances, continuing with the most recent project being the London West End production The Shining. For many of these performances, Sleichim writes and arranges music to be performed live by the BL!NDMAN quartets, making him and BL!NDMAN internationally known on the theatre circuit as well.

In 2012, Eric Sleichim elaborates a year-long collaboration with HISK in which visual artists, young composers and musicians from BL!NDMAN enter into dialogue and create a creation together: the project is christened BL!SK, the later MOLECULE. In the same spirit, in 2023, he will set up the ambitious and connective 5-year programme Parliament of Angels, uniting artists and students from national and international partners such as IRCAM, Canterbury Christ Church University, Royal Conservatoire The Hague, Fine Arts Academy The Hague, Art of Sound The Hague, Art and Sience The Hague, MATA Festival NY and the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.

In 2020 during preparations for the triple album ICONS, The American Minimalists, the world falls into a lockdown. Eric Sleichim continues to work with his musicians during this period, making lockdown videos related to the imminent release of the triple minimalism album featuring early works by Reich, Glass and Riley, and organising rehearsals and recordings whenever he can. In 2023, the release finally takes place and the quartets tour with various programmes featuring the early works of three iconic minimalists Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley.
To this day, Sleichim continues to focus on innovative concerts for the quartets and the entire collective, composing and collaborating with other ensembles and companies of various disciplines. In 2023 and 2024, he will perform the works of Moondog and Kajia Saariaho, among others, with line-ups from the various quartets.

With BL!NDMAN, Eric Sleichim records several albums. Poortenbos (1992) a suite for saxophone quartet, Dust Makes Damage (1998) an anthology of contemporary work from 10 years of BL!NDMAN. In addition, Sleichim can be heard a.o. with Steve Lacy on Antonyms (1994), with Ictus on the CDs Terry Riley: In C and David Shea with Ictus as well as on Maximalist! and Thierry De Mey/UNDO and several X-legged Sally albums. Universal Music released 4 albums with BL!NDMAN featuring music, arrangements and concepts by Sleichim: BL!NDMAN plays BACH (2000) the transcriptions of Bach’s early organ partitas are released worldwide, Multiple Voice (2002) the polyphonic works from the 12th to the 16th century on saxophone won the 2003 Klara Music Prize for best Belgian production, MAX!MAL BL!NDMAN (2004) never-before-recorded works by the legendary ensemble Maximalist! performed by BL!NDMAN, Mozart Machine (2006) in which Sleichim pulled Mozart’s bawdy canons from behind the latches and tackled them ferociously with female voices and saxes. Under the wings of renowned music label Warner Classic, the 7 BL!NDMAN albums will be compiled into the 7-volume box BL!NDMAN Collected and 3 new albums will be released: 32 Foot / The Organ of Bach (2013), a sequel to the success album BL!NDMAN plays BACH, in which BL!NDMAN [sax] and Eric Sleichim on tubax become a human organ moved by breath, Water & Fire / Handel Revisited (2017) for which Eric Sleichim and organist Reitze Smits arrange the Water Music suite and Music for the Royal Fireworks for saxophone quintet and large organ, and finally ICONS, The American Minimalists (2023), a triple album of early works by Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, performed by the entire BL!NDMAN ensemble. A forthcoming release at Warner classics will be Moondog Revisited


Projects conceived by Eric Sleichim (Composer/Aranger/Musician)
Visiting the Sound
Five movements for Beuys
Welded Reed, Painting Lips
Verwicklungen / Les Anamorphoses (DOCUMENTA IX)
A Page of Madness
Ik wil Alaska zijn
Steamboat Bill Jr.
Aleatoric Variations I & II
Dust Makes Damage
La Chute de la Maison Usher
Multiple Voice
Chromatic Variations
Mozart Machine
BL!NDMAN Electric
Doppelquartett mit Henry
Angel of Death
White Noise, white smoke
In Similar Motion
Critical Band
44 Harmonies
BL!NDMAN & Huelgas
Minimal BL!NDMAN
Red Right Wrong
Announced Movements
La Grande Suite

Melting Wax
Turntables for Voices
Defiant Angels
Kwadratur #1 Globus
Kwadratur #2 Transfo
Kwadratur #3 Cube
Surrealistic Cinema
Poortenbos II
32 Foot / The organ of Bach
WATER & FIRE / Handel Revisited
WATER & FIRE with Decap Musicbot
Beethoven Scratched
UTOPIA::47 – a very last passion
Helse Tijden – Chagrin d’Amour
Darkness into Light
Sacred Places, Sacred Books
Compositie voor Adolph Saxjaar 2014 MIM Brussel
Stream of Conciousness
The Valley
Lam Gods
ICONS, The American Minimalists


Productions with Ivo van Hove
Roman Tragedies
Ludwig II
The Fountainhead
Kings of War
Les Damnés
Network (London/New York)
Een klein leven
Age of Rage
The Damned
Ingolstadt (Burgtheater Wien)
A little life
The Shining (London West End)