Founded by Claire Gibault in 2011, the Paris Mozart Orchestra is a flexible ensemble varying in size and instrumentation according to the demands of each project.
The PMO performs regularly at such prestigious concert halls and cultural centres as the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Pleyel, Philharmonie de Paris, Théâtre des Célestins, Opéra de Marseille, Théâtre La Liberté de Toulon, Palais des Congrès du Mans and Arsenal de Metz.
Showcasing the talents of the outstanding young soloists of the Paris Mozart Orchestra – among them, as concert master and string session principals, the four members of the internationally acclaimed prize-winning Psophos Quartet – lies at the heart of the PMO project. The ensemble collaborates frequently with a number of committed world-class soloists and associate artists including soprano Natalie Dessay, Julie Fuchs and Myrto Papatanasiu; mezzos Karine Deshayes and Antoinette Dennefeld; and pianists Anne Queffélec, Jean-Claude Pennetier and Adam Laloum.
A powerful advocate of contemporary music, music director Claire Gibault commissions each season a new multimedia melologue from a distinguished composer – to date Fabio Vacchi, Sylvia Colasanti, Graciane Finzi, Edith Canat de Chizy, and Philippe Hersant – creating an original and highly evocative repertory designed as much to enthrall today’s music lovers and concert goers as to inspire and challenge the young participants in the PMO’s award-winning educational arts and culture project Un Orchestre dans mon Bahut, a laureate of La France S’Engage.
The PMO’s first recording featured the melologue Soudain dans la Forêt Profonde, a setting by Fabio Vacchi of words by Amos Oz; their latest CD “Pictures of America” with Natalie Dessay was released by Sony in December 2016. Inspired by the paintings of the American realist Edward Hopper, it includes works by Graciane Finzi and Samuel Barber alongside a selection of American jazz classics.
Dedicated to winning new audiences and sharing with all a passion for music and the arts, the PMO breaks down barriers through accessible, innovative and adventurous programming coupled with imaginative and often participative multimedia presentation.
During the 2017/18 season the PMO continues touring “Pictures of America” with Natalie Dessay in France and Italy; unleashes a storm of passions with the premiere of Pygmalion at the Philharmonie de Paris and at 16 Collèges and Lycées around the city; enjoys its annual residency at the Festival Les Automnales du Mans, with programmes of Britten, Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn; explores Mozart “the Rebel” at the Théâtre de Suresnes; and devours Paris with the monstrous excesses of Gargantua at the recently opened Seine Musicale and the Salle Rossini.
In 2016 the brilliant artist Sandrine Revel was awarded the prestigious Prix Artemisia for her graphic novel Glenn Gould – a life off tempo. Now she is collaborating with the PMO, and her graphic novel Pygmalion, inspired by the PMO project and featuring the orchestra, will be published by Editions Les Arènes in May 2018 to coincide with the Pygmalion programme’s first public performance at the Philharmonie de Paris. Artwork from the novel will be projected during the concert.
The PMO fulfils a unique social and educational role alongside its acclaimed performances of classical, early romantic and contemporary music. To be a member of the orchestra is not only to participate in an exciting musical adventure; it is also a way to share in and champion the strongest of humanitarian values, reaching out to the very young, the underprivileged and the alienated.
Through Un Orchestre dans mon Bahut, a project devised and developed in close consultation with the Education Authorities of the Paris region, the PMO works each year with 16 Collèges and Lycées in and around the Ile-de-France region to create an ambitious multi-disciplinary arts and culture programme offering students a unique interactive experience to touch, inspire and enrich their lives. In 2018/19 the project will be expanded to include primary schools in rural and outlying urban areas thanks to a new partnership with the charity Orchestre à l’Ecole and the town council of Le Mans.
The PMO is also a regular visitor to prisons and hospitals, and develops partnerships with many institutions and organizations committed to educational, social and humanitarian ideas.
The PMO is grateful for the continuing support of its principal sponsor the Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso; and the invaluable assistance of the Fondations ADP, Ardian and SFR, and of Vivendi Create Joy, La France S’Engage, Musique Nouvelle en Liberté and SACEM.
Musical and artistic Director Claire Gibault
Claire Gibault began her career at the Opéra National de Lyon before becoming the first woman to conduct the Filarmonica della Scala and the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic. She was music director of Musica per Roma from 2000 to 2002, and alongside her own flourishing career, she spent a number of years as assistant to Claudio Abbado, collaborating with him at Milan’s La Scala, Vienna’s Staatsoper and London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In 2004 she helped Claudio Abbado found the Orchestra Mozart di Bologna and continued her association with him until 2007.
Over the years Claire Gibault has conducted prestigious institutions such as London’s Royal Opera House, the Edinburgh International Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, Washington Opera, Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Pleyel, Opéra Comique and Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra de Marseille, and the Théâtre des Célestins in Lyon. She has been invited to conduct orchestras such as the Halle Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale de la RAI, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Orchestre National de Bordeaux, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Marseille, Våsterås Sinfonietta and Osaka Symphony Orchestra. Music director of a number of institutions (Atelier Lyrique and Children’s Choir of the Opéra National de Lyon, Orchestre de chambre de Chambéry, Musica per Roma), she has conducted many opera productions including Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Cosi fan tutte and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette, Offenbach’s Les Brigands, Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Haydn’s Il Mondo della luna, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Henze’s Pollicino, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel and Bernstein’s West Side Story. A passionate advocate of contemporary music, she regularly collaborates with leading composers such as Graciane Finzi, Wolfgang Rihm, Silvia Colasanti, Fabio Vacchi and Edith Canat de Chizy.
In 2011, inspired by her experience with Claudio Abbado, Claire Gibault formed the Paris Mozart Orchestra, giving some thirty performances with her musicians each season.
In 2014 she was invited to conduct the world premiere of Jean-Claude Petit’s opera Colomba at the Opéra de Marseille. That same year she was invited by Milan’s Orchestra Verdi to conduct Mahler’s Symphony no 10 as well as the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Veronica Franco at Milan’s Auditorium Fondazione Cariplo.
In 2015 she returned to Milan to conduct the Orchestra Verdi in the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Sull’acqua during Milan’s Universal Exhibition. Engagements for 2016 included a series of Mozart concerts with the Orchestra della Toscana, Massenet’s Don Quichotte with the National Opera in Osaka, as well as tours in France and Europe with her own Paris Mozart Orchestra.
In December 2016 Sony Music released “Pictures of America”, a CD celebrating the collaboration between star soprano Natalie Dessay, Claire Gibault and the Paris Mozart Orchestra. Among her forthcoming projects, Claire Gibault will be conducting the Paris Mozart Orchestra in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bartok, Mahler, Britten, Philippe Hersant and Graciane Finzi on tour in France.
In January 2018 she will be conducting the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (Mexico) in works by Chopin and Berlioz, before returning to Mexico City in September 2018 to be part of the jury for OFUNAM’s international conducting competition. In 2010 Claire Gibault’s autobiography Musique à mains nues (“Music barehanded”) was published by Editions L’Iconoclaste. She was made Officer of the Legion of Honnour by the French governement in 2016. In September 2017 the French Minister of Culture awarded her the title of Commander of the Arts and Letters.
What is a Mélologue
Since Claire Gibault founded the Paris Mozart Orchestra in 2011, one remarkable but too-rarely heard musical genre has been the chosen mainstay of the PMO’s programming: the mélologue, a dramatic narration alternating with illustrative, emotionally-charged instrumental music.
First heard 250 years ago, the mélologue has proved, in the hands of today’s composers, to be fresher, more relevant and more accessible than ever. Contemporary mélologues often include a visual element such as film, painting or drawing, echoing the painted back-drops that embellished many historic performances. Berlioz was the first musician to use the world mélologue, borrowing from Irish poet Thomas Moore, to characterise the 1832 version of his Lélio – rejecting out of hand “mélodrame” as a word tainted by negative connotations. The word mélodrame carries those negative associations to this day.
In reviving and promoting the genre the Paris Mozart Orchestra has chosen to follow Berlioz, adopting the less provocative and more intriguing mélologue derived from the Greek melos and logos.