A French orchestra in peril

Our chers amis at resmusica.com warn of trouble ahead for the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL).

The orch, which covers an 80km span from Nantes to Angers, has just been stripped of half a million Euros by the regional authority. They say the artistic plan of music director Pascal Rophé is now in jeopardy.

Read here.

rain in nantes

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  • The orchestra doesn’t just cover an 80km span, but a region far wider than that. Its two fixed homes are Nantes and Angers and yes, they are about 80km apart, but it gives concerts over the whole region of the Pays de la Loire which covers some 32,000km². It’s a very fine orchestra with over 100 players. The season ended a week ago with a concert conducted by Thierry Ficher with Bertrand Chamayou as soloist in Ravel’s G maj Piano Concerto, the concert ending with Shostakovich’s 10th symphony. A truly wonderful evening. At the moment the Resmusica site linked to seems to have crashed,( even trying to access it directly ). You can though read the President of the Orchestra’s management committee’s statement here:
    https://fr-fr.facebook.com/pages/ONPL/104460449600059

  • The President, Christian Gillet, of the Council of the Département of Maine-et-Loire (one of the constituent Départements of The Pays de la Loire region) is reported in this morning’s Ouest France to have confirmed that yes he has communicated to Alain Gralepois, President of The ONPL’s financial management committee, that in the light of the Département’s financial difficulties he is proposing to cut the Département’s annual contribution to the ONPL (464,000€), but has added that M Gralepois is shouting out before any decision has been made. M.Gillet has though confirmed that the proposal will be discussed at the Département’s Council meeting in September.

    The report in Ouest France is at

    http://www.ouest-france.fr/musique-le-maine-et-loire-reflechit-se-retirer-de-lonpl-3492089

  • This news might not be so alarming. Because the high contribution from the Maine-et-Loire département has also consequences : the orchestra has two homes, two “phalanges” that don’t always get well together and have sometimes to play simulateously in different locations. This is one of the main reasons why this orchestra, that I know very well, is one of the worst French symphony orchestras (even if I like it and admire its history, the fact is I am appalled every time I hear them in concert !).

    Less money from the Maine-et-Loire might mean a complete relocation to Nantes, less concerts in Angers, and a true orchestra instead of two mismanaged half-orchestras… It’s a mistake from the département of course, because it will have negative consequences for the public there, and will mean less access to fine arts, but in pure musical terms I’m not sure it’s all bad.

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