Country borders currently pose a challenge to an artist’s mobility and so it becomes important to create new work spaces and meeting places which allow for the preservation of the vital links and intercultural dialogue at the heart of these programs. The training programs were created through a process of reflection and ongoing exchange with the artists and pedagogical experts who were initially involved in training sessions that were scheduled to take place in Aix during the 2020 edition of the Festival d'Aix. Through these newly adapted programs, the Académie and the MYO continue to defend their values which include artistic excellence, innovation, the expression of cultural diversity, and activities which promote social inclusion. As always, the training programs are completely free for the young participating musicians and have been conceived taking into consideration 9 different time zones which reflects so well the international dimension of the Festival d’Aix. If necessary, participants can access specific aids which will enable them to access the training programs. This year, this aid has been in the form of providing internet access and access to childcare for some musicians taking part in the residencies.
Five young and promising string quartets on the French and international scene have been invited to meet and exchange online in order to perfect their musical practice with the help of prestigious artists. Jonathan Brown and Arnau Tomàs, members of the Casals Quartet, and Garth Knox, violist and former of the Arditti Quartet and the Ensemble intercontemporain, will lead the online master classes and share their experience. The selected ensembles will also benefit from interactions with the pedagogical coach Mark Withers, and the musical career development specialist Christiane Louis. Cultural mediation, the string quartets by Beethoven, and the works by the three young selected composers will be the main content for this residency.
The Opéra de-ci de-là residency has been postponed until 2021. Nonetheless, around 20 selected artists, and creators will take part in a two-day seminar where they will have the time to reflect on the role of art in society today and how art can be used to respond in times of crisis. The two day seminar will foster the development of a multidisciplinary and multicultural debate which is an essential prelude to the creation phases of the session which will occur during the 2021 edition of the Festival. The seminar will be led by Anthony Heidweiller, the Opéra de-ci de-là tutor, and Frédérique Aït-Touati, theatre director and historian specialized in 17th century literature and modern science.
Offered for several years to young creators from all disciplines, the Opera Creation Workshop is a place for reflection and discussion on artistic opera-related issues. This workshop usually seeks to define, discuss current values of opera and the tasks it will assume in the future and reflects on opera creation today and on the multidisciplinary aspects that it encompasses. This year, the workshop will take place entirely online over a period of five days and will encourage discussions that reflect on the sanitary crisis that we are all facing at the moment. The discussions will be fueled by the interventions of the stage directors Peter Sellars and Simon McBurney and Professor Didier Sicard who have been invited to speak during the workshop. The workshop itself will be led by the Franco-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf – elected to the Académie française in 2011.
In a few short years, the Women Opera Makers Workshop has become one of the Académie’s most symbolic programs. Led by the theatre director Katie Mitchell, the workshop aims to reduce the professional inequalities between men and women in the field of opera. The workshop provides concrete career development tools, support, and advice for women present in the opera industry in order to support them in their craft and their abilities to communicate this craft. This year, the workshop will take place entirely online. Within the framework of this workshop, the participants will e-meet Sofi Oksanen, author of the libretto of Innocence, whose world première was scheduled to take place this summer at the Festival d'Aix.
Throughout this training session, 16 young artists are coached and accompanied online by Mark Withers in order to help them acquire new skills and create online cultural outreach projects in order to raise awareness among audiences. Given the current context, it is more important now than ever before for artists to be able to work alongside actors in the cultural sector and to perform their civic duty of making culture available to a wider audience (a crucial element in their career development).
This year, the Medinea Intercultural Session will take place in a completely revisited format. As always, it will bring together around a dozen young artists specialised in improvisation. Five of these artists will take part in the training session with Fabrizio Cassol from the Fondation Camargo in Cassis. They will be joined by musicians connected online from Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and the Lebanon. Together they will take on the challenge of composing collectively in an intercultural ensemble, while taking into consideration the online element of the session which will be at the heart of the creation process this year.
The Mediterranean Youth Orchestra has opened a new online training session for around 60 classical instrumentalists and for two young promising conductors, all of whom had auditioned to be part of the traditional Symphonic Session in Aix during the 2020 edition of the Festival d'Aix. The artists will take part in a high quality training session which includes online master classes, video conferences and webinars. The training session will be led by 10 musicians who are members of the renowned London Symphony Orchestra, by Quentin Hindley, the MYO’s associate conductor since 2014, and Duncan Ward, the newly appointed Musical Director of the MYO Symphonic Sessions for the next three years. The online session provides a unique opportunity for young artists from the Mediterranean basin to develop their mastery of orchestral repertoires, as well as essential skills which will help them develop their careers as professional musicians, prepare for auditions and competitions, market themselves and develop their knowledge in the area of transmission and cultural mediation.