Paris: Capital City of Modern Classical Music

 The Philharmonie de Paris, a great symphonic concert hall of 2,400 seats, 
scheduled for completion  in 2012 in the Parc de la Villette in Paris.

As you may recall the infamous modern ballet "The Rite of Spring" had its premier in Paris in 1913. Since then Paris has been considered one of the great cities for experiencing modern classical music. Hundreds of well-known composers and musicians came to Paris before and after World War II to study with the famous teacher Nadia Boulanger. She lived a very long life and was the first woman to conduct many of the world's leading orchestras- including the BBC Symphony in London and the New York Philharmonic.

 Boulanger in 1925.

Below is a brief clip of Boulanger in her last years still teaching eager pupils from all over the world.

In the 1960's Paris became known as a center for the study and composition of experimental electronic music. The controversial and charismatic composer/conductor Pierre Boulez led the charge into the new realm of using electronic media to transform classical music into something entirely new and shocking. He is famous for having declared that all of Europe's opera houses should be burned to the ground- something that not many people took seriously-  lucky for us.
 Although considered a musical revolutionary and artistic anarchist in his youth, Pierre Boulez  has gone on to become one of the most sought after conductors in the world.  He conducts everything from Beethoven and Wagner to the latest avant-garde classical music.

Here is a sample of Boulez' music, the challenging "Repons".

Boulez's greatest legacy is perhaps IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) which he founded in 1970 under the patronage of French president Georges Pompidou.  IRCAM is considered one of the most prestigious classical music institutions in the world and provides an international roster of students, teachers and performers with an important venue to explore and create.

Students/musicians on the exo-skeletan staircases of IRCAM, designed by the architect Renzo Piano.

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