Paris Opéra founds a junior orchestra

Paris Opéra founds a junior orchestra


norman lebrecht

September 18, 2023

The French national opera has got together with 11 conservatoires in the region to establish a next-gen orchestra.

It is selecting 150 students aged 12 to 18 and training them in the opera and ballet repertoire. A launch concert is planned for June 24 next year. Alexander Neef, the Opéra boss, calls it an ’emblematic and unique’ venture. Several foundations have piled in to finance it.

Victor Jacob has been named conductor.

Imagine Dudamel walking away from all this.


  • zayin says:

    “Imagine Dudamel walking away from all this.”

    There are far more Latinx in New York than in all of France.

    Dudamel has *no* history of creating programs for *all* diversity youths (e.g., Maghrébins, Africans that populate Paris regions), just Latino youths in and around LA.

    It remains to be seen what he does with the demographics in NYC.

    But as in both LA and NY, no Asians need apply (they’re already over represented at Juilliard?), though it IS ironic that HIS benefactors who gave $40 million to establish his chair…are Asians. But we digress.

  • Edo says:

    “Imagine Dudamel walking away from all this.”

    Or just becouse of this…go figure!

  • Andreas B. says:

    “a unique venture” – I suggest having a look at Munich …
    Bavarian State Opera founded its youth orchestra about 15 years ago:

    • IC225 says:

      Many UK symphony orchestras do something similar; some have been doing so for more than 6 decades. Perhaps the unusual thing here is that it is an opera company. It is good news in any case.

  • Anon says:

    Good timing. It means that the orchestra won’t be accompanied with ladlefuls of empty rhetoric about how it’s going to transform Paris/France/the world. Unless Dudamel sticks his oar in before he leaves.

  • Reynaldo lauron says:

    What’s really the reason behind all this (Mis)information? Why the sudden resignation of Dudamel despite his own long range project like the youth orchestra patterned after his Sistema?

  • Diane says:

    Dudamel will be plenty busy here in New York.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    My own (late) violin teacher told me that while Indiana University superbly prepared him to be an orchestral violinist, when he joined the Milwaukee Symphony (which is also an opera orchestra) he soon wished his preparation had included more operas, especially the difficult ones by Strauss. Actually, I believe IU at the time did have a student opera orchestra, but he was not in it. Youth orchestras should try to feature both repertoires (and, as with this French project, standard ballets for that matter). Who knows what kind of orchestra you’ll end up in when you’re just 12 to 18?