Thousands mobilise to save classical music at Salle Pleyel

Some 10,000 people have signed a petition calling for the retention of classical music at Salle Pleyel after the Orchestre de Paris moves out to the new Philharmonie on the city periphery next month.

Here is a summary of their case:

 

salle pleyel

Salle Pleyel, a cornerstone of classical music in Paris, has been owned since 2009 by La Cité de la Musique, a complex located on the city’s periphery devoted primarily to classical-music performances and education. In January 2015 Cité will open a new hall, La Philharmonie de Paris, on its premises and simultaneously ban classical music at Pleyel fearing competition from the latter, fabled hall.

Pleyel has been a cornerstone of classical music in Paris since opening on Oct. 18, 1927, when Stravinsky and Ravel conducted their music there. Between Sept. 10 and Dec. 16 alone this year, Pleyel hosted 43 concerts of classical  music, nearly one every other day. They featured such world-famous orchestras as the Orchestre de Paris, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Renowned conductors included Paavo Jarvi, Myung-Whun Chung, Franz Weiser-Most, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Riccardo Muti, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly and Louis Langrée.

Famous artists included Maxim Vengerov, Evgeny Kissin, Vadim Repin, Nelson Freire, Martha Argerich and Stephen Kovacevich.

By adding the Philharmonie to its current facilities, Cité, owned by the Paris and French governments, hopes to create an epicenter for classical music. But musicians and music lovers are up in arms: the complex is located in a bleak neighborhood on the northern edges of Paris where many loathe traveling during the day and at night. And countless numbers resent losing their favorite hall to the whims of government bureaucrats and seeing it transformed into one more hall for popular music in Paris.

Starting in January, Cité will move all classical programming previously held at Salle Pleyel in the center of Paris to Cité and the Philharmonie on the outskirts. Cité is looking for a new tenant for Pleyel. The contract terms only authorize “concerts de musique populaire de qualité” and forbid “tout concert ou spectacle de musique classique quel qu’en soit la forme (concert symphonique, récital, musique de chambre, opéra, etc.).” Laurent Bayle, « patron de la Cité de la musique » and « président de la Philharmonie de Paris, » was quoted in October in the same Télérama piece as cynically saying, “Notre définition du mot ‘classique’ n’empêche pas que Natalie Dessay y chante du Michel Legrand.”

Opposition to the ban has been furious from musicians and music lovers, with over 10,600 signatures and 1,600 comments already posted on a petition. The chairman of the board of SACEM, France’s performing-rights organization, has condemned Cité’s plan to muzzle competition. For years the new Philharmonie project has been plagued by political infighting and huge cost overruns, upping the total bill from an underestimated 118 million euros to a staggering 386 million euros, or some 100,000 euros per seat.

A court battle has dragged on for years over actual ownership of Pleyel, purchased in 2009, led by the seller’s former wife, a conductor herself, who has also been trying to keep classical music at Pleyel. On Nov. 25, she led 50 orchestra musicians in a protest concert opposite Paris’ Palais de Justice. Cité has announced its plans to award the contract for new management of Pleyel at the beginning of January amid growing fears the future tenant may remodel the hall for pop music, making it unusable for concerts of classical music.

For these many reasons, pressure must be exerted quickly from all possible quarters and at the highest levels – especially from the foreign press and leading conductors and musicians – to reverse the decision to ban classical music at Pleyel and allow lovers of classical music to keep enjoying concerts at the hub of classical music that Salle Pleyel has been in Paris for nearly a century.

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  • ruben greenberg says:

    If Classical music is to be “forbidden” at Pleyel, I suggest it being taken over by the Talibans.

  • Lopala says:

    Je suis contre la fermeture de Pleyel au Classique et n’ai aucune envie d’aller jusqu’à La Villette, c’est loin de chez moi et peu convivial. La fermeture de cette salle toute neuve est un scandale !

    • Mathieu says:

      Le TCE et Pleyel sont loin de chez moi, j’y vais quand même. Du reste, 20 minutes de metro en plus sont un faible prix à payer pour voir la philharmonie de Berlin, vous ne croyez pas ? Quant à Pleyel, cette “salle toute neuve” ne va pas fermer, mais être louée (cela fait une différence). Vous feriez bien de vérifier la véracité de vos propos.

      • Lopala says:

        La salle va fermer oui, pour des travaux afin de la rendre conforme aux musiques “actuelles” — oh là, surtout plus de classique- et oui elle est NEUVE, 7 ans c’est neuf; moults travaux y ont déjà été faits et ça recommence. Et si ça vous plait de financer 100 millions d’Euros de dépassements de budget pour la nouvelle philarmonie alors tout va bien. Payez !!

      • Lopala says:

        J’ajouterai que vous avez bien de la chance de n’avoir que 20 mn de métro parce que moi c’est une heure de route (quand ça roule ….et à 18 h ça ne roule pas !!! ) J’habite très loin en banlieue, ehh oui, même des banlieusards paumés allaient à Pleyel; la nouvelle salle m’éloigne encore.

  • Mathieu says:

    “The complex is located in a bleak neighborhood on the northern edges of Paris where many loathe traveling during the day and at night”. This must be the reason why the Cité de la Musique has been such a failure. Oh wait : it hasn’t! Full house every night!

    I do not want to rehash a point I’ve already made here in the past, but you have obviously no knowledge of this so-called “bleak” neighborhood, which is currently undergoing an important wave of gentrification. Besides, the classical music audience in Paris is much more diverse than you seem to think, in terms of age, ethnicity and wealth. Of course young people are in the cheap seats in the upper stalls, so you can’t see them. And I’ve seen plenty of rich white men in the Cité de la Musique when Abbado, Leonhardt, Savall, Boulez or Herreweghe played there, they did not look terrified to me (neither did Abbado, Leonhard, etc.). So, please, let us dispense with the usual clichés.

    As for interdiction to play classical music in Pleyel, may I remind you that the Cité de la Musique is the owner of the joint, and that they may lease it under whatever condition they like ? In my street, there is a shop for rent; the sign reads “For rent. All activities except restaurants and food shops”. Business as usual, if you ask me.

    • SVM says:

      May I remind Mathieu that the Cité de la Musique receives considerable public funding, not to mention that it took massive government investment to erect the complex in the first place. Therefore, it is entirely reasonable for taxpayers to hold “the owner of the joint” to account over a philistine decision to explicitly proscribe a single note of classical music ever sounding again in an historic venue. Even if it were a private owner, the community has a right to protest against a change of use for a significant venue: in the UK, a landlord would require planning permission to convert a commercial building into a block of flats (or vice versa).

      It seems that Mathieu wants to have his cake and eat it (looking at some of his posts below): he argues in favour of moves towards a monopoly on classical music in Paris on the grounds that any semblance of “competition” is a nasty Anglo-Saxon capitalist contrivance, yet he defends the right of the Cité de la Musique to impose conditions on the future use of a building it is selling on the grounds that it is the prerogative of the property-owner to determine terms of sale without accountability to the community, a very free-market/neoliberal ideology.

  • Paul says:

    French people and French society here, once again, manifest their total lack of understanding of the word competition. Where else in the world would a major concert hall dictate what type or genre of music may or may not be played in that hall to any promoter or organiser that pays the rental and other fees? ONLY IN FRANCE! Shouldn’t they then wonder why they lose respect, talent and money? This is no different than the current French drama of whether stores may or may not be open on Sundays. It is all so small and all so amateur and sadly so provincial. No true global city or culture would ever dictate what type of music a vacant auditorium may or may not offer to the public. Where are these people’s heads? Laurent Bayle can not ever again be taken seriously, at least not outside of the confines of small minded French thinking. They really are poor and disconnected from global reality!

    • Mathieu says:

      Here we go again with the cultural clichés…

    • Julien says:

      Dear Paul, I don’t know if you are french or not, I don’t care. Do you know that for some people, “global reality” or “world competition” is not a goal to pursue. The sense of our life could be something else. It’s not a fatality.
      You can read books from Michael Sandel, teacher of philosophy in Harvard, or David Graeber, teacher in London School of Economics.
      But maybe read books is a loss of time to be a winner in our global competition.

  • Paul says:

    This is no “cultural cliché”! This is fact. France is declining and losing international respect at a rapid speed, is unable to compete globally, unable to adapt to the modern world and shows that reality in this very incident concerning what genre of music is forbidden at a major centrally located auditorium in a supposedly major “global city” (which it isn’t).

    • Julien says:

      I am so sad to live in a city which is unable to compete globally. I am crying not to live in a global city. Paul, go to Singapour, you will be happy to be with the winners and not with these stupid losers of french people.

    • SVM says:

      It is not just about “competing globally” — it is about a powerful organisation attempting to stifle artistic freedom. Cité de la Musique would probably argue that by keeping the number of classical venues low, it improves the economic viability of those venues that are permitted to exist, thus enabling them to “compete globally”.

      If we look to Germany, we see that classical music thrives by virtue of the high density of venues — this is motivated less by economic competition (although the CIA funding of culture in W. Germany during the Cold War is an influential legacy) than by a belief that high culture is a public good.

      Thus, it is possible to believe (as I do) in both restricting commercial trading on Sundays (I admire the tenacity of the French in defending their weekends, and do not think it backward) and having lots of major concert-venues in a big city.

  • Edwina says:

    I must agree that this story could only come out of France. Could anyone imagine, even for a second a decree stating that the Konzerthaus in Vienna may not play classical music, because it is just down the street from the Musikverein? Or, the Konzerthaus in Berlin has to have a special programming because the Berlin Philharmonie is newer and located in a less central location? Or Carnegie Hall being told by mayor of New York that they must play this or that music because Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center is nearby and is a newer and recently renovated building? No, when hearing it like this it all appears so stupid, so petty, so amateurish that it must be said that it could only happen in France and nowhere else, except perhaps North Korea!

    • Julien says:

      Do you sometimes wonder why France is such an obsession for the Anglo-Saxon world ? It’s strange to talk so much about this stupid communist country.

      • Edwina says:

        This has nothing to do with France being an “obsession for the Anglo-Saxon world”. First, I am not Anglo-Saxon and that is as old of a French cliché as there is. This all has to do with the fact that we live together in this interconnected world and can today easily see the shortcomings and advantages of different systems. The tragedy of this French story is that, yet again, a once great and proud country refuses to move forward in its thinking and maintains rigidity and a deep fear of joining the big world, always hiding behind “cultural exceptions”, quotas and statements that life is not about competing. Sadly, this is all wrong. Life is about competing, not always for money, but for ideas and ways to bring them to fruition. The French being attached to their bloated bureaucracy and unable to imagine doing things as an individual hide behind the stupidity of their leaders, thereby avoiding facing the realities of our modern world. The results of this cowardice are evident economically, culturally and politically.

        • Julien says:

          French people are not at all attached to their bureaucracy, and we don’t live like you seem to believe. Our model is not perfect, like any system, we can improve it each moment. But we can deny that the money should be the center of our life, we can deny the mainstream. I am not anarchist, I am not communist neither socialist (maybe an utopist), I am not from Occupy Wall Street, but I refuse to think that competition is a fatality, and there is an unique model. If you think that competition is an obligation, it means you accept there will be winners and losers. The victory of somebody is always the defeat of anybody else. The victory of Steve Jobs is the defeat of the worker from South America or Africa (not only economically, but also culturally).
          I agree with you, I refuse your way of thinking and to join your big world. It’s not a fear, it’s a choice. Big world is not a fatality, or it’s very sad, it means that as human being, we don’t have any freedom.

          “Cultural exception” and “art de vivre” are not rudenesses.

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA: 2265 seats. 2200 parking spaces.

    La Philharmonie de Paris: 2400 seats; 600 parking spaces. Served by one Metro line (No. 5). But very close to the major beltway (le Boulevard Peripherique) that rings Paris. It is just beside le Parc de la Villette with Cite de la Musique and CNSMD (Paris Conservatory of Music) as neighbors. Science museum and great open spaces to the north.

    It;s not the neighborhood that’s the problem but the neanderthal planning. $500M dollars, OMG! 600 parking spaces, what were they thinking? I know, everyone sould take the Metro…I am 10 minutes from Pleyel and 45 minutes from La Villette by Metro. Looking forward to watching the concerts on Mezzo and Arte,,,

    • Julien says:

      Completly true. I know some people of the administrative crew who are working inside yet. They said to me that the organisation of the office is not practical at all. But the question of parking and people who work inside is not important for the “genious” Jean Nouvel.

    • ruben greenberg says:

      Paris isn’t Los Angeles, thank God. People still walk here. More parking space would encourage people to drive and thus to pollute.

  • Frank says:

    Obviously an unthinking American flag-waver. While France might be economically flat, it does not have one in every thirty of their children homeless and a vulgar wealth accumulation by the rich and increased poverty of the bottom 99%. It opened a splendid auditorium at Radio France in November and the new Philharmonie, one of the most impressive architectually in Europe, opens in a few weeks. The last acoustically important hall in New York was opened in 1891. Why don’t you count the number of professional music critics in America and get back with us with that number. Alex Ross counted eleven but that was last year and the NYT just dumped one. (France has way more. Luxembourg has probably more.)

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Thanks, Frank. I needed that. I’ll assume that the homeless I see in Paris are all Americans fleeing the imminent collapse of the USA.

      ….je deviendrai critique comme vous…as Pierre Monteux once said. It’s the punchline of a shaggy chien story told to a journalist, according to the legend.

      Back to unthinking and waving. Bon week-end et Meilleurs Voeux!

    • Julien says:

      You can add the level of french baroque orchestras, like Arts Florissants, Musiciens du Louvre, Talens Lyriques, Concert Spirituel, Concert d’Astree…
      Hope they can survive, despite the lower subsidies.
      Maybe Paul can talk about baroque orchestras in the global city New York, where William Christie comes to make masterclasses.

    • Frank says:

      And for Mr. Fitzpatrick, please understand that the new Philharmonie is part of the Cite de la Musique complex. Their concert hall has been open since 1995 and the huge underground parking has always had space for my car. The 600 number is additional parking spaces. Disney hall in LA has commodious parking because Los Angeles has no useful public transportation.

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        Thanks you for the clarification, mon cher Frank. I’m sure those extra 600 spaces will help a lot, especially when all of the venues host an event at the same time. Let’s do lunch at one of the many fine restaurants in that area. My last comment on this topic.

        • SVM says:

          I am not sure LA is a good comparison for parking provision; the fact is that for travel within big European cities, many/most people use public transport (in central London, you would have to be mad to want to drive to a concert; one concert at the Barbican in November was delayed by about an hour as a result of the conductor being stuck in traffic), and, in view of the pollution and congestion problems that continue to blight them, discouraging people from driving is a proper and progressive form of urban planning.

  • Marc-Antoine Hamet says:

    Norman,
    Let’s face it: France has rich man’s problems!
    Radio-France just opened a new auditorium, another one is planned in the western suburbs, and this new Philharmonie is opening on the eastern part of Paris.
    When the Opéra Bastille was opened in 1989, it was to be the only place for opera, and Palais Garnier reserved for dance (not the best views for dance!), and you know what happened? A few years later a mixed programming of dance and opera started in both halls!
    So, let’s see what happens in a few years time!
    I bet Pleyel will host classical music again.
    As for inhabitants of the western parts of Paris (I happen to be living in the 16th arrondissement, close to the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and Radio France), the only motivation to travel to the new Philharmonie will be the quality of the programming.
    Once I will have seen the building, the “hardware”, I will come back for the “software”!
    So, let’s see what creative programming the Philharmonie will offer, and it will make the Michelin Guide right again: “Vaut le voyage”… (Worth the trip)!
    This is already what I do for the hall built by Christian de Portzamparc at the Cité de la musique, right next to the new Philharmonie. I go a few times a year, for memorable evenings.

    • SVM says:

      …but would the new owner of Salle Pleyel be interested in returning to programming classical music, given that it is not usually profitable and that it would require a restrictive covenant on the use of the building to be overturned (I have absolutely no knowledge of French planning law: does anybody know how this would work, and whether it would even be possible?).

      • Frank says:

        The owner is a quasi-governmental unit and they are not selling Pleyel, they are offering it for a lease with the restrictions mentioned.

  • Bill says:

    I think all the comments here have missed the crux of the problem and that is that in France culture is still perceived to be under the control and edicts of the government and politicians and no private individual or non-bureaucrat arts’ professional has any say, nor are their opinions taken very much into consideration. This shows that France really hasn’t evolved very much from the times when Lully was under the direction of the Court of Louis XIV. The current political class have only replaced the monarchy, deciding what is best and right for their subjects, what type of music can and can’t be played in this or that hall. Nothing is based on pragmatism, nothing is based on actual needs, nothing is thought in a user-friendly way. Certainly not. In France all of this world turns within itself, with intrigues and animosities and political posturing, but NEVER looking out for what is actually necessary.

    A dear friend of mine lives in the 19th Arrondissement, very close to the new Philharmonie de Paris and I got off at the metro station serving this new hall and guess what? There is no signs directing you to the exit for the new hall. There are no escalators in this particularly deep station, so its all steps (great if you are an old person with limited mobility!). So, in brief, another French comic disaster, much like the Opera de la Bastille, when it first opened in 1989 and a tremendous waste of public money at a time when France is one of the worst economic performers on the world stage. Perhaps it is because of these attitudes that the economy is locked in a downward spiral. The French population takes little if any initiative on their own, always waiting and expecting the State to do everything and resolve everything. Well, now they have another State project in true and typical French style, with bureaucrats deciding what music can be played in concert halls and building a new concert hall outside central Paris with 2,400 seats and only 600 parking places. Sounds like the usual French bureaucratic way of doing things. How much longer can that country carry on like this?

    • Frank says:

      Bill. Too bad you have no idea what you are talking about and just repeating mindless prejudices. You can consult the internet if you want to know how France is regarded in terms of financial health. I suspect you won’t. You have no idea just how many concert venues Paris has (it is an embarrassment of riches). In fact, it is one of the issues with allowing Salle Pleyel to continue. You have no idea just how vital the Paris music scene is. You can look if you want at the number of major concerts and opera – five opera companies – each and every day. Just for your information, another architecturally important grand concert hall complex is underway (La cite musicale) on the Ile Sequin with an auditorium of 1100 seats, rehearsal halls, recording halls, and an adjustable hall from 4000 and 6000 seats. It is scheduled to open in June of 2016. As American orchestras and operas are shrinking and donors are sitting on their hands, your posturing seems even more absurd.

  • Marc Feldman says:

    The article and the comments here are truly off the mark and by a long shot, excepting those who actually know about the neighborhood in question I lived there for 20 years and saw the place become as trendy as any in New York or London. And – by the way – many of Paris’ musicians have lived here for years. So let’s put references to bad neighborhoods aside, it is just false. Norman if you come to town I will personally take you to the wonderful Canal St. Martin for a stroll and you decide. Plus, wasn’t Lincoln Center built next to what was then Hell’s Kitchen at the time, so please….
    Yes, Pleyel did see many of the world’s greatest artists. I can’t count the wonderful performances I heard there. In a city that didn’t have an international level concert hall it was fine. But, as anybody who has played there – and I have – Pleyel’s acoustics were mediocre at best. I think the players at the Orchestre de Paris and all the visiting ensembles definitely deserve a better hall. So, let’s see what the new place sounds like first, n’est-ce pas?
    Next, I don’t know which is more French; a so-called ban on classical music by higher ups (which is a business decision above all, after all Paris has 6 orchestras going on any given evening) or the 10,600 protesters taking to the streets to defend the “future of classical music” with great handwringing and solemnity. Tell you what, if they really want to save music in Paris, why doesn’t each one of them donate 100 euros to the Orchestra de Paris’ annual fund. A cool million six for artistic programming, I’m sure their development director would be delighted! Or is that too crass and Anglo-Saxon for everybody? You can’t have government pay for everything and then not let it make decisions.
    Really people, we all must be pragmatic in all our countries, with whatever funding system. Anglo-Saxon, schamglo-saxon, French cultural exceptionalism, etc… I don’t care what you call it. Orchestras and arts institutions have to be connected to their communities. Those that are, are surviving and even thriving. Those that aren’t, are in trouble.
    France’s problem is not the new concert halls, museums and cultural centers that have been built around the country. The problem that nobody seems to take seriously, except orchestra managers like me, is the decline in funding for the people that actually perform and make the arts happen. For now the public is happy with fairly low ticket prices and very little in the way of philanthropy, despite a very generous tax structure for donations. The corporate world is lagging in supporting French arts, despite the obvious benefits of creativity and quality of life for citizens.

    In the end, each society decides how to support its culture; public, private or a mix, and culture can only be as vibrant as the society that supports it. France needs new ideas and to stop thinking that it was always better in the past. It wasn’t! We have talent galore from Paris to Marseille, from Strasbourg to Brest. Good Luck to La Philharmonie!

  • Julien says:

    If you want to base on pragmatism and actual needs, 95 per cent of the musical offer would be Rihanna, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.
    Board of trustees and “mecenat” are not enough to make living good music. The ugly public money helps these artists :

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nPEl_oNKIsE

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YKPK3CINlWU

    Rejoice !

    • Marc Feldman says:

      Excuse me Julien, I think that French public funding is wonderful and necessary, that is beyond any doubt, and I am in France for that very reason. However, your statements about pragmatism – as if that is a bad thing – are just uninformed. France desperately needs good boards of directors that are involved with and support their institutions (and not only representitives from the government) – and France desparately needs corporations and indiciduals to step up, too. In places where that is happening ; Toulouse, Lille, Orchestre de Paris, Strasbourg… things are OK. We have been loosing funding for years now and orchestra costs are still rising! The equation is not working!

      It is time to stop talking about “good” public money (which comes with quite a bit of strings attached at times) and “bad” private mécenat. It is just so incredibly untrue, Just ask the Louvre and other museums if they think they could survive on public fund alone.

      I have 56 employees that all strive to make great music. I want to provide a future for them and this profession. Who are you to tell me about pragmatism? I live and breath it every day of my life and fret over every subvention, ticket sale and donation.

      And thanks for the Long Vie pour Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne.

      • Julien says:

        I completely agree with you. I would only say that for some people, pragmatism = I don’t give you money any more, culture is not a priority because of the crisis… For sure, we have to be inventive and look for more private mecenat. Things seem to change in France, maybe too slowly in some places. I am happy to see that there are lucid persons like you in french orchestras.

  • Philippe says:

    For information about Pleyel, follow this blog:
    pourleclassiqueapleyel.com

  • Mathieu says:

    First, my main point was about the bleak neighborhood cliché. Not such a long time ago Norman was all singing praises of the new concert hall. Why such a sudden change of minds ?

    Second, I am willing to agree wholeheartedly that there are many problems with the new hall. No doubt about that, and those problems won’t disappear overnight.

    Third, about the anti-competition clause of the lease. Where I have ever argued “in favour of moves towards a monopoly on classical music in Paris on the grounds that any semblance of “competition” is a nasty Anglo-Saxon capitalist contrivance” ??? What “posts below” are you referring to ?

  • R. James Tobin says:

    This plan is a terrible idea. I am personally acquainted with both sites. The Salle Pleyel, where, admittedly as a visitor to Paris, I have been with excitement and pleasure a number of times, is in central Paris and is central to the cultural life of Paris. The other venue is neither. The Cite site, to which my wife and I unhappily trudged from the nearest Metro station (about five years ago) would be a better venue for the popular music. And didn’t the Salle Pleyel undergo extensive renovations just a very few years ago?

  • Annabelle Weidenfeld says:

    C’est pire qu’une betise c’est un crime! Salle Pleyel is the only hall in Paris purpose built as a concert hall in 1927. We would be so lucky to have such a hall in London! It is a unique hall where symphony concerts, chamber music and solo recitals are equally at home acoustically and although I was devoted to the old Pleyel as I knew it in the 70s when living in Paris, the renovations undertaken from 2002 to 2006 at huge cost, improved both acoustics and comfort and great pains were taken to keep to the original Art Nouveau design. Not only are concert goers now expected to treck to La Villete, a suburb of Paris, either on the metro as described by Bill, with no directions to the hall and out of bounds to older or disabled public. Who in Paris is going to get there in time for concerts after a working day? And only enough parking space for a third of the expected public! If all of that were not bad enough The wonderful Pleyel concert hall, in the centre of Paris, an iconic building identified with the greatest artists over the decades since it opened 87 years ago has been pronounced out of bounds for classical concerts! It beggars belief that such dictatorship could be accepted anywhere in the civilised world, let alone in France. How would Londoners feel if suddenly informed they must go to Croydon to hear the LSO as the Barbican (for all its sins) would now be used for pop concerts exclusively with no classical music allowed, or Festival Hall or, God forbid, beloved Wigmore Hall? We should all sign the petition to save Pleyel for its continued use as one of the great concert halls in Europe.

    • sdReader says:

      Good comment. I’m sure, when the dust settles, Salle Pleyel will again be used for proper concerts and recitals, just as “Pleyel” pianos will continue to be made (somewhere).

      On the map, the new “Philharmonie de Paris” appears to be *inside* the Boulevard Périphérique, next to greenery, and closely served by the Métro’s Porte de Pantin station.

      Is La Villette technically a suburb despite having an Arrondissement number?

  • Poly-Anne de Wesphalie says:

    Some reactions to this simple and more than justified protest surprise me in a democracy defending liberté, égalité and fraternité. Nobody is questioning a new philarmonic hall in Paris What is being questioned and is unacceptable is the absurd decision to forbid classical music in one of the most emblematic and beautiful concert halls in the world. Plus there is a real high risk of loosing the possibility to change the decision in time if it is not stopped now because the place will be transformed to adapt it to other uses. Please sign the petition! Wishing you all a hopefully wonderful New Year with good news for our loved Pleyel concert hall 🙂

  • Mary McGagh from Boston says:

    I have enjoyed reading all the pros and cons of the new Philharmonie and the exclusion of classical performances at Salle Pleyel. I will certainly miss the Salle Pleyel!

    Many, many times I have enjoyed attending performances at Salle Pleyel, Opéra Garnier, Opéra Bastille or even Théâtre de la Gaîté and other small venues, and my very favorite Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Why is TCE my favorite? Let me count the ways: its size; the quality and the variety of the performances; it is within walking distance of where I usually stay and at night I feel completely safe walking in the area. In June of 2012 I attended 3 thrilling performances at this venue alone.

    I do not take the metro at night and taking taxis every night to various venues, especially long distances, would limit the number of performances that I could afford to attend. Once, and only once, I took a taxi from Neuilly-sur-Seine to the TCE to make the performance on time.

    After my first 2 visits to Paris I never revisit the Louvre, except to marvel at the beauty of the I. M. Pei Pyramid alight at night. On the other hand, I derive great pleasure in visiting the Musée d’Orsay, Jacquemart-André, Rodin on the rue Varenne, Musée Luxembourg, Grand Palais, to name just a few of the numerous smaller museums.

    Not everything bigger is better! For me they have ruined our beautiful MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) by enlarging it into a huge complex. I used to enjoy a weekly trek to spend a few hours and have lunch. Now I find I spend my time wandering the corridors (despite the plentiful maps and guides) looking for the exhibitions that interest me. I will not renew my membership.

    I can only pray that they do not ruin our beautiful, acoustically wonderful Symphony Hall under the misguided perception that bigger is better!

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