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What's On in Burgundy 2016?

William Christie and Les Arts Florissants

William ChristieWilliam Christie is a musical performer who exudes magnetic electricity on stage. Baroque music is his enthusiasm and speciality and he frequently returns to Beaune with Les Arts Florissants as part of the annual International Baroque Opera Festival.

Les Arts Florissants, his vocal and instrumental ensemble have made their mark across the globe with works ranging from Purcell and Handel to Mozart, Monteverdi, Rossi and Scarlatti. Christie is an enthusiast of French Baroque too with highly acclaimed recordings by composers such as Charpentier, Rameau and Couperin, French motets, music of the court and opera and ballet in his repertoire.

He has been coming to the Beaune Festival nearly every year since it began in 1982. With works from the 17thC and 18thC at the heart of the programme, it figures that Les Arts Florissants, the specialists of Baroque, should perform here. ‘It is a festival of ‘our’ music,’ he says. He has a high regard for the festival directors and finds Beaune charming, adding that he always stays on a couple of extra days to visit the cellars and enjoy the wine.

Les Arts Florissants
Les Arts Florissants ©Guy Vivien

William Christie founded Les Arts Florissants in 1979. An American by birth, France has been his home for 39 years. Besides being a harpsichordist, conductor and musicologist, teaching also plays an important part in Christie’s work. Caen is now the centre of his musical endeavours and it was here, along with Kenneth Weiss that he set up Le Jardin des Voix in 2002. This is an academy for young professional singers who can partake in an advanced study of Baroque repertoire and join in an international tour with Les Arts Florissants.

Be sure to catch William Christie as he brings Baroque music to life with his energy and enthusiasm at the festival.