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Concert Bargemon 2016
Concert Bargemon 2016
GenreClassical music
Location(s)Seillans, South of France
Years active2005 – present
Founded byPippa Pawlik

The Musique Cordiale International Festival & Academy is an annual festival of classical music, song, oratorio and opera, taking place in hill towns between Nice and Aix-en-Provence in the South of France during the first two weeks of August. The festival features over 18 concerts including major choral and orchestral works, chamber ensembles, free lunchtime concerts and late night recitals in churches, chapels and in the open air.

In a spirit of entente cordiale, the festival draws together people of all ages and from many countries and is designed to encourage intercultural friendship and understanding through a shared involvement in music-making. Singers and players range in age from 15 to 75. The 13th Musique Cordiale will take place from Saturday 29 July to Saturday 12 August 2017 and the Academy for string musicians will take place from Thursday 27 July to Saturday 5 August 2017 and will be led by Levon Chilingirian and Susie Mészáros from the Chilingirian Quartet.

Artistic Director, Pippa Pawlik, studied the violin at the Royal College of Music in London and played professionally in London and Switzerland. With two young children, she then changed direction and worked in music promotion with record companies, international orchestras, festivals and artists from all over the world. Pippa now lives and works in Kent, having relaunched her PR business with clients in America, Germany and the UK. She also acts as a mentor, offering musicians career guidance, inspiration and brainstorming strategies.

Choir & Orchestra[edit]

MC Academy 2016
MC Academy 2016
Concert in Bagnols-en-Foret, France
Opera in the Open Air

A choral tradition remains the integral part of Musique Cordiale and a major work for choir closes the festival each year. The choir is made up of excellent amateur and professional singers from ensembles including The Bach Choir, the London Symphony Chorus, Groupe Vocal Arpège de Bordeaux and the Ensemble Equinox.

The Festival Orchestra is a multi-generational ensemble made up of young professionals and established musicians from orchestras including the LSO, the OAE, the Tonhalle Zurich and the Oslo Philharmonic. Musique Cordiale acts as a platform for burgeoning soloists and orchestral players, offering them an opportunity to learn and perform works which they will later play on the international stage.

Each year, Pippa invites accomplished conductors to direct the orchestra and the choir. The idyllic surroundings of the Pays de Fayence provide a unique setting for these musicians and singers to perform together in an informal, Provençal environment. James Lowe, Chief Conductor of the Prussian Chamber Orchestra, Germany, and the Vaasa Sinfonia, Finland conducts the Festival Orchestra and Graham Ross, Director of Music at Clare College Cambridge, conducts the Festival Choir. Previous conductors include Tom Seligman, Errol Girdlestone, Tomas Netopil and Kevin Griffiths.

Since 2005, performances have included Mozart’s C minor Mass and Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Haydn’s Te Deum and Nelson Mass, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Fauré’s Requiem. Operas staged include Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte, Puccini’s La Bohème and Rossini’s Barber of Seville.

Commissions and winter concerts[edit]

Works specially commissioned for Musique-Cordiale and premiered at the festival in recent years include pieces by Graham Ross and Cecilia McDowall. In 2005 and 2016, Musique-Cordiale featured in a weekend of choral and instrumental performance as part of the October Canterbury Festival and its choir has also performed in an autumn weekend in Totnes, Devon.

Choir & orchestra rehearsal under Tom Seligman, Seillans 2010