Magazine article Musical Opinion

Newletter from Paris

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Newletter from Paris

Article excerpt

Paris badly needs a new Concert Hall. The Palais de Congres was initially built over 20 years ago as a home for the Orchestre de Paris. but after two seasons was abandoned because of the impossible acoustic. The main Paris concert hall, the Salle Pleyel, a privately owned building, has been putting up its hiring charges by 20% in the last year which means that they have doubled in 10 years, so that an orchestra such as the Lamoureux, whose subsidy from Central Government and the City of Paris has remained the same at (L)100, 000 since 1990, is now in difficulty and has had to cut back its Concert Series from 13 to 5 concerts, despite the fact that the musicians receive no salaries, only a share in the profits if there are any; that their conductor Yuta Kasado takes less than half his usual fee; and that they manage to sell over 3,700 tickets for each of their concerts.

Building a new Concert Hall has become a political football. The right wing Mayor of Paris wants to restore the historic Gaite Lyrique Theatre, whilst the Socialists want a new Concert Hall built in the Cite de la Musique on the Eastern side of Paris. The Paris Orchestras themselves are also undergoing fundamental changes. Charles Dutoit, who was the Musical Director of the Orchestre de Paris for over 10 years, left last year and his place has been taken by Christophe Eschenbach. Kurt Masur will soon be taking over as MD of the French Radio's Orchestre National de I'lle de France and Jacques Mercier, who for the past 17 years has been the MD of the Orchestre National de I'lle de France, which for the past 25 years has done a good job presenting concerts in the region surrounding Paris, has announced that he will retire in 2001. Perhaps the most interesting new nomination is that of the Korean/American conductor Myung Whun Chung as the new MD of the Radio's Orchestre Philharmonique. …

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