Breakthrough: Prime minister’s wife leads French orchestra to Algeria

Breakthrough: Prime minister’s wife leads French orchestra to Algeria


norman lebrecht

February 19, 2015

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.

Watch video here.

anne gravoin


  • Lisa Fogler says:

    Norm, once again…stick to the violin and leave international politics to the experts: “Relations between France and Algeria have been fraught with tension.” What the heck are you talking about? What tensions are you talking referring to, other than the ones in your imagination? I live in France. What you just said is ridiculous. Leave the politics to the experts and stop trying to create drama and CAUSE problems. We don’t need more Foxnews-type propoganda. Stick to the Arts, that is what your blog is about isn’t it? I reiterate….Riduclous. France and Algeria are fine with each other andhave cultural exchanges all the time. This is not earthshattering news. Are you bored or something?

  • Handy says:

    Well said ! It’s a an obsession for certain french when speaking of algeria, never miss a chance to pliticize the stuff how it be so cultural or social aspect.

  • linn says:

    Since 2014, according to the law : no lillte girl, girl, young girl, neither no-marrief woman can be called “Mlle XXX”.
    Every girl, woman must be called “Madame XXX”