In Pontoise, the balconies of a building taken over by musicians from the National Orchestra

In Pontoise, the balconies of a building taken over by musicians from the National Orchestra



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It’s an original way of bringing classical music into the neighbourhoods. The city of Louvrais hosted, this weekend, the Grand Ensemble concert played from the balconies of a 7-storey building. #TheyHaveTheSolution

Forty musicians who land with their instruments on their backs in a city in the Paris suburbs. The image is not current. Arriving near the building where they are to play, everyone climbs the floors to reach the apartments where they are expected. Lilli, who has lived in the Louvrais district since 2016, opens her door to violinist Pierre-Emmanuel Sombret. She volunteered to welcome three musicians to her balcony.

Then begin the rehearsals under the dumbfounded eyes of his daughter. “It’s a little weird, but it’s still good”, reacts Marilou. The orchestra is spread over seven floors. Strings, brass, percussion, the notes escape from the balconies. Downstairs, in the car park, deckchairs have been installed to allow residents to take full advantage of this moment of escape.

Grand ensemble imagined by composer Pierre Sauvageot is a concert that was created in 2017 to be performed from balconies. It has already been presented in several cities: Paris, Avignon and even Marseille. Contrary to the traditional concerts played in rooms, the music mixes with the life of the district, with its noises. And that’s not a problem for musicians. The objective is of course to go towards a population which does not frequent cultural places but not only. “The idea is not only to bring culture to those who don’t have it. We come to exchange because they, too, give us things”, rejoices Pierre Sauvageot.

A nice moment of exchange and sharing that does not happen overnight. in Pontoise, the operation big set was the fruit of several months of meetings between the inhabitants, the musicians and the partners of this initiative.

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