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Three questions for Olivier Vernet, Artistic Director of the International Organ Festival organised by the Cultural Affairs Department


For the first time the Festival is taking place in St Charles Church - why the change of venue?

This is the fifth edition of the International Organ Festival, although one should remember that it is a continuation of the "Cycles d'Orgue" initiated by René Saorgin. In other words, the organ has been feted for over 25 years every summer in the Principality!

As a result of restoration and reconstruction work being done on the Cathedral’s great organ, we are not able to use the one on the Rock. I should at this point draw your attention to the splendid new instrument which will be in place next year in the Cathedral. The originality, design and sound aesthetic envisaged by its designer will ensure that Monaco becomes a sought-after venue for organists on an international level. I am already receiving many requests for information from all over the world.

In a joint agreement with the Cultural Affairs Department, we decided to move the programme to St Charles which has a really beautiful organ. Its case is made of superb 17th century wood panelling that belonged to the organ in St Nicolas, the ancient church on which the Cathedral was built.
    What are the highlights of this year’s programme?

    First I would like to talk about several Monegasque groups, such as the Choir and the Young Cathedral Singers, directed by Pierre Debat, who will pay tribute to Chanoine Carol [organist and composer] as we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. A wonderfully original programme will unite the timbre of the organ with the rich sounds of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. As we have every year, several major foreign artists, notably from Spain, Argentine and Russia will also be performing. I have asked each of them to propose an accessible and varied programme which will delight the always attentive and curious organ fans, and attract newcomers.

    It’s also the first time that we are opening up the programme to young talents. Indeed I think our Festival is a springboard for young artists – all under 27 years old – and winners of major international prizes. I am convinced their participation in the Monaco Festival will be a valuable experience for them artistically and professionally.

    Over the last five years, has the Festival attracted a loyal following?

    Without a doubt - at every concert we have noticed an increase in attendance. The audience is a loyal but also quite demanding one and it is always rewarding to get their feedback after the concerts.

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    Last updated: September 27, 2010 (05:02) Copyright © 2018 Service Informatique du Ministère d'Etat www.gouv.mc