Pasdeloup Orchestra

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Rehearsal of the Pasdeloup Orchestra at the Cirque d'Hiver by John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Pasdeloup Orchestra (also referred to as Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup) is the oldest symphony orchestra in France.


Founded in 1861 by Jules Pasdeloup with the name Concerts Populaires, it is the oldest orchestra still in existence in Paris. Aimed at an audience hitherto absent from evening concerts, the orchestra presented cheap Sunday concerts in the vast rotonda of the Cirque d'hiver in Paris. The opening concert (27 October 1861), with an orchestra of 80 musicians, consisted of the following programme:

Rehearsals took place on Tuesday and Thursday at the Conservatoire and on Saturday at the Cirque d'hiver (musicians were paid 15 francs per concert with rehearsals). The first leader was Lancien, of the orchestra of the Paris Opéra. Early concerts included music by Berlioz and Wagner.[2]

The enterprise was a great success and the Concerts Populaires became a genuine institution, playing a lead role in forming a new audience through making known the Austro-German repertoire and also by influencing the creation of French symphonic works.

Pasdeloup continued his activity until 1884 and tried in vain to restart in 1886 by mounting a festival devoted to César Franck (which was a success).

The orchestra started up again in 1919, under the guidance of Serge Sandberg, with the title Orchestre Pasdeloup.

Principal conductors[edit]

André Caplet was the deputy chief conductor from 1922 to 1925. Since 1990, the orchestra has not had a permanent principal conductor and has been run by a committee; from 2000 this has been chaired by the violinist Marianne Rivière.

Patrice Fontanarosa is the current artistic advisor for the orchestra, while Jean-Christophe Keck oversees the direction of the Offenbach concerts. Conductor Wolfgang Doerner has regularly lead the orchestra each season since 1987.



External links[edit]


  1. ^ Cinquante Ans de Musique Française de 1874 à 1925. Les Éditions Musicales de la Librairie de France, Paris, 1925.
  2. ^ Cinquante Ans de Musique Française de 1874 à 1925. Les Éditions Musicales de la Librairie de France, Paris, 1925.
  3. ^ Darrell R D. The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music. The Gramophone Shop Inc, New York, 1936.