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City of Light: Paris 1900-1950

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Dr Caroline Rae is Series Advisor for a major and much-anticipated new festival project from The Philharmonia Orchestra, one of the world’s leading orchestras.


City of Light: Paris 1900-1950 will explore Paris from La Belle Époque and Les Années folles to the aftermath of World War II, featuring music from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande to Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie as the soundtrack to an exploration of the art, literature, dance, architecture and socio-political history that drew the leading artists of the age to Paris from across Europe.

World-renowned Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen headlines the season, which opens November 2014 and runs until May 2015 with a series of concerts at London’s Royal Festival Hall and Royal College of Music. There will also be a Cardiff strand to the festival featuring The Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen at Saint David’s Hall and a series of chamber concerts at the Cardiff University Concert Hall.

Caroline Rae’s expertise in twentieth-century French music led to her appointment as Series Advisor for the festival. In addition to advising on the programming of the featured orchestral and chamber repertoire, Dr Rae is coordinating a series of study days and talks, as well as writing programme notes and articles for the City of Light Festival Book. She will be giving pre-concert talks in London at the Royal Festival Hall and Royal College of Music, as well as in Cardiff, and is co-convening the City of Light international conference at the Institut français in May 2015.  

Once officially launched, the festival’s concerts will be supported by a range of digital resources that will offer audiences greater insight into the rich diversity of French music from 1900 to 1950 through the Philharmonia’s internationally acclaimed website. Dr Rae’s contribution to these resources will include interactive maps, articles and a series of films, which she is shooting in Paris during 2014.

The Philharmonia’s core City of Light programmes at the Royal Festival Hall have already been announced – beginning with Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande on 27 November 2014 – and information is available from the Philharmonia Orchestra’s website www.philharmonia.co.uk.

City of Light: Paris 1900 - 1950 is supported by The Meyer Foundation and is a partnership between the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal College of Music, Institut français, French Embassy, and Cardiff University.