In an extraordinary act of cultural diplomacy, the violinist Anne Gravoin – who is married to Prime Minister Manuel Valls – took the Alma Chamber Orchestra to play in Algiers this week.
The conductor was Lionel Bringuier, but Gravoin, a concert soloist and musical entrepreneur, is listed as artistic director of the tour.
She told France 24: ‘It’s a coming together. People can unite around music, listen to the same music together, and each person can experience it in a different way. That’s why we make music. We’ll give it our all for everything we play this evening.’
Algeria’s Culture Minister Nadia Labidi called it ‘a special moment’.
Relations between France and Algeria have been fraught with tension. France has a large Algerian-Moslem minority. The gunmen who attacked the satirical journal Charlie Hebdo were of Algerian origin.
Gravoin’s concert tour will have both external and internal repercussions. It is both a bold move and a brave one.
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