Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, musical director, founder
Paul Agnew, associate musical director, associate conductor
Jonathan Cohen, associate conductor
Founded in 1979 and dedicated since then to the performance of Baroque music on period instruments, Les Arts Florissants enjoys a worldwide reputation. The ensemble, which takes its name from a short opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, has been indissociable from its founder William Christie right from the start, but has also been conducted regularly by Paul Agnew since 2007. Les Arts Florissants has been a pioneer in the rediscovery of a long-neglected repertory from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (especially French music of the age of Louis XV), which it has firmly established in performance in France and around the world.
Ever since the famous production of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1987, revived to triumphal acclaim in May 2011, it is on the operatic stage that Les Arts Florissants has enjoyed its greatest successes, with works by Rameau, Lully and Charpentier, but also Handel, Purcell, Mozart, Monteverdi, Landi, Cesti, Campra and Hérold. Its large discography – more than one hundred audio and video recordings – reflects this constant renewal of its repertory.
Appearances in the concert hall play an equally essential role in the renown of Les Arts Florissants, which tackles a wide range of music both secular (madrigals, airs de cour, concert versions of operas) and sacred (oratorios, petits motets and grands motets, hymns). Each year the ensemble presents a season of around a hundred concerts and operatic performances in the world’s leading venues, most particularly the Philharmonie de Paris and Lincoln Center in New York.
Les Arts Florissants attaches great importance to training young musicians and passing its experience on to others. In 2002 it founded the biennial academy ‘Le Jardin des Voix’, which has discovered numerous new talents since then. The ‘Arts Flo Juniors’ programme, inaugurated in 2007, gives conservatory students an opportunity to join the orchestra or chorus for one production, from the first day of rehearsals to the final performance. In the same year William Christie and the ensemble set up a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music in New York, which has permitted a genuine Franco-American artistic exchange.
Alongside this, numerous outreach activities aimed at new audiences (amateur musicians and non-musicians, children and adults alike) are organised each year in association with the ensemble’s season. All the aspects of this intensive activity were combined in the creation of an annual festival at Thiré, ‘Dans les Jardins de William Christie’, in partnership with the Conseil Départemental de la Vendée. The musicians of Les Arts Florissants, students from the Juilliard School and prizewinners from Le Jardin des Voix appear there in concerts and open-air ‘musical promenades’.
Les Arts Florissants receives financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Communication. 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.
Tenebrae Responsoria, Feria Quinta (Maundy Thursday)
The Great Venetian Mass
"Bien que l'amour" : Airs sérieux and Airs à boire, #1
Acteon, "opéra de chasse" (hunting opera)
Les Arts florissants, "idylle en musique" (an idyll to music)
Le Malade imaginaire, music and dances for Molière's comedy
"A Christmas Oratorio": In Nativitatem, Sur la naissance de NSJC, Antiennes "O" de l'Avent
Te Deum. Missa Assumpta est Maria
Messiah, oratorio (London 1741)
"Music for Queen Caroline" : Te Deum and Coronation Anthem. Funeral Anthem
"La Harpe reine": Harp Concertos and Symphony at the Court of Marie-Antoinette
"Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau" (Mr Rameau's Garden)
Le Louvre des musiciens: a musical history of the Palace of the Kings of France
"The Motet Masters": Brossard, Stabat Mater / Bouteiller, Missa pro Defunctis
La Mort de Didon. Cantatas
Il combattimento di Tancredi & Clorinda. Madrigals from the 7th & 8th Books
L'incoronazione di Poppea, opera (1642)
Lamento della Ninfa. Altri canti di Marte
Madrigals, vol. i, ii & iii. Cremona, Mantova, Venice
Selva morale e spirituale (selection)
"N'espérez plus, mes yeux…": Airs sérieux and Airs à boire, #1
Castor & Pollux, opera (1737)
Les Indes galantes, opera-ballet (1735)
Platée, opera (Versailles, 1745)
Pygmalion. Nélée et Myrthis (ballet acts)
Un peccator pentito, O cecità. Oratorios
San Marco di Venezia: Sacred music at the heart of the Baroque revolution
"Si vous vouliez un jour.." : Airs sérieux and Airs à boire, #2
"Un jardin à l'italienne": the Italian repertoire from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 19th century.
Ana Maria LABIN
Ana Maria LABIN
Updated November 2018