Great Performances Series: “Les musiciens”
19th of July, Academy of Music Florianka hall

The String Ensemble of the “Les musiciens” Chamber Orchestra from Luxembourg, touring the major European cities, made a last minute decision to visit Krakow. Thanks to this, we will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the music of composers coming from Luxembourg and performed by their fellow countrymen. The programme of the Krakow concert is titled “ Luxembourg String Music,” and is composed of the works by composers active in the 19th and especially the 20th century.

Established in 1974 as “The Young Musicians,” the Les musiciens (which simply means “musicians”) ensemble is a classical chamber orchestra of the Mozartean type gathering thirty artists who, since 1985, have worked under Pierre Cao. During its history, the orchestra has invited other renown conductors to cooperate; among their number was Jaap Schr÷der, who will conduct the Krakow concert. Since 1982 the orchestra has organised unique projects under the patronage of the Luxembourg Minister of Culture. Linking history, architecture, classical music, and culture tourism, those projects, as e.g. the concert-conferences of Castles of the Great Duchy, Churches of the Great Duchy, and the Former Great Duchy of Luxembourg gained huge interest of the public and won the first award of the “European Conservation Awards” Foundation. To a great extent, the repertoire of the orchestra consists of 18th-century symphonic pieces and concerts; yet it also accommodates Romantic and contemporary works (especially those composed by Luxembourg artists.) Les musiciens often accompany huge international performances of choir music. Among the soloists invited to cooperate there have been such masters as Ivan Monighetti, Boris Pergamenschikow, and Jean Boyer. Performing in the Krakow concert will be a Luxembourg cello player, Franšoise Groben, the laureate of the P. Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1990). A student of Boris Pergamenschikow in the class of cello in the Cologne Conservatory, the artist performed in tens of countries during her numerous tours. In 1993 and 1995 she was invited to cooperate by Mstislav Rostropovich himself. The artist plays an instrument manufactured by Matteo Gofriller, in Venice in 1695.

The concert will be conducted by Jaap Schr÷der, a conductor who has recorded considerable successes also as a violin player, teacher, and musicologist. The first violin (in Dutch Chamber Orchestra and others) and the father of numerous chamber ensembles, mostly from Amsterdam: Quadro Amsterdam, Concerto Amsterdam, Quartetto Esterhazy, and others, he was also one of the first artists to play historic instruments, and an artist whose achievements are compared to those of Nicolaus Harnoncourt. In his career he conducted numerous orchestras; only his conductor discography contains over 100 works, many of them award-winning: in 1982 he received, together with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, the Grammy Award for the first recording of all Mozart’s symphonies.

The idea of a concert of medieval sacred music composed to honour St James was born in Krakow. With active co-operation of other European Cities of Culture 2000 that is Bologna, Helsinki, Prague, Reykjavik, and Santiago de Compostela, the music contained in the 12th-century manuscript, known as the Codex Calixtinus was reconstructed. The manuscript itself is stored in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, and closely related to the worship of its patron.


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