Orchestre de Paris



The Orchestre de Paris is rich in its musical heritage. Founded in 1967,  it stems directly from one of the oldest orchestras, the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, which introduced Beethoven, Berlioz and Brahms to Paris audiences. Its first Music Director was the renowed Charles Munch who led the Orchestra on its triumphant first American tour in 1968. He was succeeded by Herbert von Karajan, Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach. In September 2010, Paavo Järvi took up the position of Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris.

The Orchestra draws its repertoire from the mainstream French musical tradition established by the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, while also playing a major role in the repertoire of twentieth an twenty-first centuries through the appointment of composers in residence and world premiere of many commissioned works (by Xenakis, Takemitsu, Berio, Stroppa, Saariaho, Tanguy, Manoury, Dalbavie, Dusapin, Mantovani, Dubugnon, Beffa, Escaich, El- Khoury, etc. ), or cycles and special events devoted to tutelary figures of twentieth century French music such as Olivier Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux, Pierre Boulez. In recent years, young  talented  musicians  have  joined  the  ranks  of  the  Orchestra  and  brought  their enthusiasm to the exploration of new repertoires.

The Orchestra performs more than a hundred concerts per season in Paris and on tours in the great musical capitals of the world. In November 2011, Paavo Järvi led a triumphant tour in the Far East (Japan, China, Korea). In November 2012, Paavo Järvi conducted the Orchestra for eight concerts in Germany and Switzerland.  A new important tour in Asia, the fifteen one since the early 1970s, is planned in October-November 2013 : the Orchestra and its music director will visit Vietnam for the first time and will return to Japan and China, with soloists Jean-Frédéric Neuburger and Thierry Escaich. In May 2014, again in residence in the Musikverein in Vienna, they will give three concerts. It is also the regular guest of many festivals such as Salzburg, Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein, London BBC Proms, Linz, Bucharest, San Sebastian, MiTo in Italy… and Aix-en-Provence where it will perform a new production of Elektra under the baton of Esa Pekka Salonen in July 2013.

Young people activities are among the Orchestra’s essential commitments : it continues to develop school and family concerts, open rehearsals, workshops, classes in residence, discovery programmes, expanding its audiences from nursery school to university level. During the
2012/13 season, the musicians are introducing nearly 40.000 children to orchestral music.

Training is also one of its priorities. In order to acquaint both Paris main conservatories young students  to the profession of orchestra musicians, the Academy of the Orchestre de Paris  was created in 2003, at the instigation of Christoph Eschenbach  together with both heads of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) and the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional (CRR) of Paris. Every year, the Orchestra welcome about twenty carefully selected students in different sessions, including rehearsals and concerts with the Music Director or major guest conductors.

The Orchestra’s discography  is a reflection of the diversity of its musical activities, and many of  its  recording  have  been  awarded.  Among  them  in  recent  years,  Beethoven’s  Piano Concertos  nos.  1  and  4  with  Lang  Lang  on  Deutsche  Grammophon  and  Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Symphony.   Its first recordings under Paavo Järvi, released on Virgin Classics, feature Bizet »’s symphony works and Fauré’s Requiem with Matthias Goerne, Phillippe Jaroussky, Eric Picard and the Orchestra’s Choir. A DVD devoted to live recordings by Stravinsky (The Firebird and The Rite of Spring) and Debussy (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) has just been released in early May 2013 (Electric Picture).

Broadcasting is playing an important part in the Orchestra’s activities, notably thanks to its partnership with Radio Classique, Mezzo and Arte, through regular webcasts (Arte Live Web and Orchestra’s website).

The Orchestre de Paris, in residence at the Salle Pleyel,  receives subsidies from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the City of Paris.

Paavo.Jarvi-by Ixi ChenPAAVO JÄRVI

Paavo  Järvi  was  born  in  Tallinn  in  1962.  It  was  with  his  father,  Neeme  Järvi,  that  he discovered the world of music, playing through piano duet arrangements of Haydn symphonies, comparing performances in his father’s impressive record collection, singing under his direction in a children’s choir, and attending his rehearsals. Paavo Järvi began by studying percussion, then went on to conducting.

In 1968 Neeme Järvi conducted Arvo Pärt’s Credo, a setting of part of the text of the Latin Mass, at a time when the Soviet regime prohibited such references. The political upheavals triggered off by this stand in favour of artistic freedom led the family to leave Estonia for the United States in 1980. Paavo Järvi was then seventeen years old. He continued his musical studies at the Juilliard School in New York and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. He began to conduct the Nordic repertoire in particular, while also establishing other domains of predilection, including French and Russian music.

Paavo Järvi then took up his first permanent posts: music director of the Malmö SymfoniOrkester (1994-97) and principal guest conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (1995-98) and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1996-99).

The decade from 2000 saw his career accelerate and his activities multiply. Invited to conduct a programme with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, he was offered the music directorship of the orchestra immediately after the first concert. He has worked with this American formation noted for its remarkable technical qualities since 2001.

In 2003, after a collaboration of several years, the Hessische Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, based in Frankfurt, asked him to become its music director. In 2004 he became artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. With this independent chamber orchestra he recorded a complete Beethoven symphony cycle much applauded by public and press.

Paavo Järvi has already made some fifty recordings. Among these, he is particularly fond of the  first  ones  recorded  in  Stockholm,  Stenhammar’s  Second Symphony and  Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite and Kullervo; the same composer’s cantatas with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir and Ellerhein Girls Choir, which won the first Grammy Award ever attributed to Estonia and made a considerable impact on a country then just emerging from the Soviet era; Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; and CDs devoted to two composers close to him, the vocal music of Erkki Sven Tüür and the symphonies of Lepo Sumera.

In 2004, Paavo Järvi conducted the Orchestre de Paris for the first time, in a programme of music  by  Nielsen  (Symphony  no.2),  Berg  (the  Seven  Early  Songs),  and  Sibelius  (the incidental music to Pelléas et Mélisande). The rapport between them was immediate, and the concerts magnificent. He was invited back in 2006 for concerts devoted to Bartók and Kodály. In 2007 he agreed to become the orchestra’s music director from the 2010-11 season, and returned to conduct the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony. Since that time he has tackled a wide repertoire with the Orchestre de Paris, embracing Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Debussy, Bizet, Britten, and the music of his compatriot Arvo Pärt. After a first recording of works by Bizet released in September 2010, another devoted to Fauré’s Requiem with Matthias Goerne, Philippe Jaroussky, Éric Picard and the Choir of the Orchestre de Paris was released in September 2011.

In 2010, Paavo Järvi completed a successful ten-year tenure as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In recognition of his work for this orchestra, he has been appointed Music Director Laureate, and his position as Musical director of the Orchestre de Paris has been prolonged until 2015-16 season.

In July 2012 it was announced that Paavo Järvi will take up the position of Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra from the beginning of the 2015/16 season.

In 2012, he was made Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Aurélie Filippetti for his outstanding contribution to music in France.


Photo Paavo Järvi : © Ixi Chen