Les Arts Florissants Begins 2018 with Official Launch Of Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie
With its 2018-2019, 40th-anniversary season on the horizon, Les Arts Florissants begins 2018 celebrating signal achievements for the organization and founder-conductor William Christie. On January 29, 2018, the new Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie held its first board meeting, marking the official launch of the institution that will perpetuate William Christie's life's work in music and the art of gardens. The acclaimed Les Arts Florissants embraces performance, education, audience development, recording, and publishing. Christie's Thiré estate and gardens, and extended projects in the Vendée region of France, were recognized in 2017 as a Centre Culturel de Rencontre (Cultural Center).
The Fondation unites all of Les Arts Florissants and Thiré's activities into a vibrant resource for future generations. The Fondation - incorporating an international music organization and a French heritage site - is the first of its kind in France. Its creation was authorized by the French government in November 2017 and certified the government's recognition of Les Arts' collective endeavors as beneficial to the French public (fondation d'utilité publique). Along with sustaining an important heritage site, the unique legal entity will oversee all of the artistic, educational, and public outreach activities of Les Arts Florissants, and the preservation and management of assets - from Thiré's buildings and acclaimed gardens to Les Arts' numerous recordings and publications. Christie's gift of his entire Thiré estate, as well as several houses and land in the village, was the crucial step to the Fondation's establishment. Further recognizing Maestro Christie and Les Arts Florissants' contributions to French culture, on February 7, 2018, the French Ministry of Culture honored William Christie, through the auspices of the Bureau d'Export de la Musique Française, as an ambassador for French culture around the world.
Commenting on the official launch of the Fondation, Christie said, "Almost 40 years ago, a group of friends and I founded Les Arts Florissants to rediscover and perform the magnificent French Baroque repertoire. During that time, I've achieved another of my lifetime dreams in the Vendée: creating a unique garden around my 17th-century house, which has become the setting for Dans les Jardins de William Christie and our Spring Festival. It was time to put Les Arts Florissants on a firm footing and secure the future of all these endeavors for new generations of artists and audiences, and the establishment of Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie does exactly that. I thank our wonderful donors and patrons for their visionary support of this new and great adventure."
An initial endowment was required for the creation of the Fondation and it now exceeds €1.7 million thanks to William Christie's gifting of his estate, and to generous donations from supporters including American Friends of Les Arts Florissants, and European Friends. The project also received funding from the Région Pays de la Loire, the Département de la Vendée, and the Commune de Thiré. A major fundraising campaign is underway to further the Fondation's mission, including continuing the restoration and expansion of sites in Thiré to better serve artists, educators, and the public. Support can be made through American Friends of Les Arts Florissants.
The schedule of upcoming Les Arts Florissants performances can be found here. William Christie will lead the Ensemble in Haydn's The Creation at Alice Tully Hall as part of Lincoln Center's Great Performers series, on November 15, 2018.One of the world's best-known and most respected music ensembles, Les Arts Florissants, founded by William Christie in 1979, has been hailed for its revitalization and performance of Baroque music, in particular French repertoire. It is also recognized for its prestigious training and young artist programs, including its international academy Le Jardin des Voix, Arts Flo Juniors mentorship, youth and adult audience outreach, and extensive published resources, including a free, online, multimedia collection. Under Founding Conductor and Music Director William Christie, and Associate Conductor and Associate Music Director Paul Agnew, Les Arts Florissants performs some 100 concerts annually at home, in France, and abroad. It also has artistic residencies in France at both the prestigious Philharmonie de Paris and in Thiré (Vendée, Pays de la Loire), where Le Jardin des Voix has been in permanent residence since 2017, and internationally through William Christie's long-standing partnership with The Juilliard School.
Le Jardin des Voix Directed by William Christie and Paul Agnew, Le Jardin des Voix provides an outstanding opportunity to young classical singers starting their careers. Founded in 2002, the biennial academy has become an exceptional incubator of international talent. After three weeks of intensive training, the finalists perform a concert program that tours the globe. Laureates of Le Jardin des Voix have gone on to prestigious international careers, with many returning regularly as guest artists with Les Arts Florissants. Partnership with The Juilliard School in New York William Christie's partnership with The Juilliard School began in 2007. He is an artist-in-residence and each year leads master classes and conducts the advanced student performance ensemble Juilliard415. Students of the Juilliard Historical Performance program have been selected to take part in the Dans les Jardins de William Christie summer festival to work alongside the musicians of Les Arts Florissants.
Arts Flo Juniors Launched in 2008, Arts Flo Juniors is an annual program offering a first professional experience to students nearing the completion of their conservatory training. Students join the chorus and the orchestra of Les Arts Florissants for the duration of a production, and are mentored by members of the Ensemble.
Audience Outreach Les Arts Florissants offers a range of educational and outreach activities for diverse audiences, with a particular emphasis on building future generations of concertgoers. Annual programs include a school outreach program (workshops, class presentations) in the Île-de-France and the Vendée; the Baroque LIVE program, an opportunity for teens with limited exposure to classical music to discover live Baroque music; and workshops and participatory concerts tailored to families.
Publishing and multimedia Since its founding, Les Arts Florissants has published and recorded a unique collection of Baroque music - a rich repository for accessing this newly revitalized repertoire. Materials are available in a variety of formats: scores, CDs and DVDs (the Les Arts Florissants collection on the harmonia mundi label), and a catalogue of online resources.
The Thiré estate: the Logis du Bâtiment and its Gardens William Christie acquired and began restoring a 17th-century house (known as the Logis du Bâtiment), and land in western France in 1985. He also created a magnificent garden on the grounds, which pays homage to the grand gardens of 16th-century Italy and 17th-century France. It has been hailed by critics and garden design experts, and in 2006 was listed on the French supplementary inventory of historic monuments. Various sites throughout the garden now serve as performance spaces for Les Arts Florissants and its related programs.
Two Festivals in the Vendée Created in 2012 and held in summer in the last week of August, the festival Dans Les Jardins de William Christie annually welcomes more than 8,000 visitors to discover Baroque music in the idyllic setting of Christie's gardens. The festival brings together the musicians of Les Arts Florissants, students of New York's Juilliard School, and singers of Le Jardin des Voix for a series of concerts and promenades musicales. The Festival de Printemps (Spring Festival) was launched in spring 2017, and takes place over one weekend, with concerts of sacred music performed in churches in the region. Festival de Printemps 2018 will take place from April 6-8, 2018, and Festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie from August 25-September 1, 2018.
The Quartier des Artistes (Artists' Quarter) Established to house musicians, musicologists, and young landscape designers who have residencies, the Quartier des Artistes is located in the heart of the village of Thiré, a short walk from William Christie's house and gardens. Expansion of the Quartier is planned to provide space for concerts, workshops, discussions, and public rehearsals, as well as additional residencies. In addition to the young singers of Le Jardin des Voix academy, the Quartier hosts the winners of the annual Maryvonne Pinault Ephemeral Garden Prize for young landscape designers.
Centre Culturel de Rencontre (Cultural Center) Les Arts Florissant now has a permanent home and has embarked on the creation of an international cultural and artistic center serving artists and the general public. This has been made possible by the organization's designation by the French Ministry of Culture as Centre Culturel de Rencontre (Cultural Center) and the government's certification of Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie. The prestigious title of Centre Culturel is awarded to projects that demonstrate excellence in artistic creation, preservation of French heritage, and public outreach.
WILLIAM CHRISTIE, Founder, Music Director, Conductor, of Les Arts Florissants A harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist, and teacher, William Christie has been at the forefront of the rediscovery of French Baroque music and its introduction to a wide audience. Born in Buffalo, and educated at Harvard and Yale, Christie has lived in France since 1971. He founded Les Arts Florissants in 1979. As director of the vocal and period-instrument ensemble, he has made his mark in both the concert hall and the opera house. Major public recognition came in 1987 with the production of Lully's Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, which went on to tour internationally. William Christie has garnered acclaim for conducting works by Baroque masters Monteverdi, Rossi, Scarlatti, Purcell, and Handel, as well as music of Mozart and Haydn, among others. He is a frequent guest conductor at Glyndebourne and other music festivals, and at the Metropolitan Opera, the Zürich Opera, and the Opéra de Lyon. His extensive discography includes more than 100 recordings. A noted musical educator, William Christie has been artist-in-residence at The Juilliard School since 2007. Christie was elected to France's Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2008.
He is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In February 2018, the French Ministry of Culture honored him as a champion of French culture. Christie will receive an Opera News Award at the magazine's annual gala on April 22, 2018, in New York City. PAUL AGNEW, Associate Music Director, Associate Conductor of Les Arts Florissants Trained at Magdalene College in Cambridge, British high tenor Paul Agnew has sung with such distinguished conductors as Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman, Paul McCreesh, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, and Emmanuelle Haïm.
He performed in Lully's Atys with Les Arts Florissants in 1992 and has enjoyed an acclaimed career singing Baroque repertoire, in particular the music of Rameau, Charpentier, Handel, and Purcell. In 2007, Agnew began conducting assignments for Les Arts Florissants. Among other notable projects, he conducted the complete cycle of Monteverdi's madrigals in nearly 100 concerts throughout Europe - a project he recorded for harmonia mundi's Les Arts Florissants collection. Agnew was appointed Associate Music Director of Les Arts Florissants in 2013. He helped create, and serves as Artistic Director of, Festival de Printemps and he is Co-Director of Le Jardin des Voix. As a guest conductor, Agnew has led non-period-instrument orchestras including the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg. He also regularly conducts the Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroque, and the European Baroque Academy in Ambronay.
Sponsors Les Arts Florissants receives financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Département de la Vendée and the Région Pays de la Loire. The Ensemble has been in residence at the Philharmonie de Paris since 2015. The Selz Foundation, American Friends of Les Arts Florissants, and Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank are Principal Sponsors. Les Arts Florissants also wishes to thank all the sponsors and partners of its numerous projects.