Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music

Mani. Gonxha

text written spring 2015 by Tom De Cock

General information

  • Percussion solo for 2 Tibetan sounding bowls
  • duration: 18’
  • First Performance in 2012 by Christian Dierstein
  • You can order the score online by sending an email to

A prayer. Mani.Gonxha is an intensely intimate ritualistic experience for the performer that becomes naked and exposed when placed in front of an audience. It is as if one were to visit a church and find someone deep in personal prayer; this moment of great significance for the individual creates a somewhat unsettling but captivating situation for the observer.

Through the use of two Tibetan singing bowls – traditionally sacred instruments used as a signal to begin and end periods of silent meditation – Billone extracts a rich soundscape featuring a variety of impacts, timbres, resonances and harmonics one would not imagine could be produced by a single source. The bowls are an extension of the hands (Mani). They become part of the performer, just as the performer himself becomes part of the resonating body. The slightest contact between various materials – metal, skin, bones, torso, and voice – multiplies and propagates sound through the performing body and into the open.

Gonxha is a reference to Mother Teresa’s Albanian birth name, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. Furthermore, Gonxhe in Albanian translates to “bud”, or the “knoblike growth on a plant that develops into a flower,” much like the elaborate sonic universe that is developed from the simple source of two singing bowls.(1)

Practical difficulties
Technical difficulties
Interpretational difficulties


  1. Text by Noam Bierstone and Christian Smith (2014), reproduced with permission from
  2. All sketches that were used in the text are taken from the scores and the legends of the described pieces. © Pierluigi Billone.