Swiss conductor has died

Swiss conductor has died


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2015

Jean-Jacques Rapin, former conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and head ot the town conservatoire, has died at 82.

He founded the Ernest Ansermet Society and wrote books about music and, surprisingly, national defence.




  • PDQ.BACH says:

    Mais non, pas surprisingly du tout!

    Like many Swiss men of his background and generation, Jean-Jacques Rapin was proud to serve in the Swiss militia armed forces, at a time when social and military rank were often equivalent. For a long time, the fact that Switzerland has been spared invasions and entanglement in foreign wars since the Napoleonic era used to be ascribed to the strength and combat readiness of the Swiss military in defense of armed neutrality (compulsory militia service, with yearly repetition stages well into middle age). That legend has now been thoroughly debunked.
    It is realised that a neutral Switzerland, with a vibrant economy and intact infrastructure (just like a neutral Sweden, in similar circumstances), was a lot more convenient to all the belligerents; and neutral Switzerland served them well, without compunction.

    But for someone like maître Rapin, the legend held. So he served for seventeen years as a lieutenant-colonel in the artillery. He led the 10th fortress artillery brigade, overseeing the fortifications of Saint-Maurice, a key to the upper Rhône valley since Roman times. Therefore his military and historical studies, notably L’esprit des fortifications: Vauban – Dufour, les forts de Saint-Maurice.

    Rapin was also a great admirer of Wilhelm Furtwängler and a friend of his widow Elisabeth Furtwängler. He edited and translated into French Furtwängler’s Carnets, which he considered his duty towards the rehabilitation of the Berliner maestro.

  • James McCarty says:

    I fail to see a contradiction between an interest in the fine arts and the military defense of one’s nation. In the US, it seems to me, both are rather neglected at present.

  • patrick peikert says:

    Jean-Jacques Rapin a été le Président de l’Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, de 1990 à 2001 ; les chefs d’orchestre étaient à cette époque Jesús López Cobos (jusqu’en 2000) et Christian Zacharias.
    Jean-Jacques Rapin est un pédagogue, écrivain, musicien et surtout: animateur comme il aimait à le dire.