— Académie

Published on February 3 2017


Atelier Chanteurs-relais - Académie du Festival d'Aix dans le cadre d'enoa - Janvier 2016
© Vincent Beaume

Sharing, passing on knowledge, and introducing young and “remote” audiences to music: such are the missions of the Relay musicians and singers. With this in mind, the Académie of the Festival d’Aix has developed an outreach training programme for young musicians who are on their way to a professional career, aware of the importance of knowledge-sharing and keen to be involved in outreach projects.

An innovative training programme

Singers and instrumentalists from all backgrounds – including some from the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra (MYO) – and all musical traditions are invited to take part in themed training sessions hosted by renowned educators such as Mark Withers, artistic and education project leader for London Symphony Orchestra Discovery. In a process of experimentation and improvisation, Relay musicians and singers receive training, acquire outreach techniques and tools, and then put the lessons learned into practice in field projects with the relevant audiences, in partnership with Passerelles. What makes the Relay musicians training course unique is this creative and participatory approach, offering the opportunity to create innovative projects with “remote” audiences (people with physical and/or motor disabilities, social or educational difficulties, etc.).


Anyone can enter the world of music and opera. The Relay musicians’ role is to bring this idea to life.

Mark Withers

For the 2016-2017 season, four training sessions are on offer: an introductory module took place at the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence from 12 to 14 November 2016. The training continued at the Grand Théâtre de Provence from 23 to 25 January this year with a more comprehensive module. From 25 February to 1 March, the focus was on the voice, with a module dedicated to Relay singers as part of the enoa (European Network of Opera Academies) network’s Young Opera Makers programme. Lastly, a final module invites participants in the previous sessions to come together and work on developing outreach projects.

Training in the field for unique audiences

Discover the Relay musicians workshop with a group of six teenagers from the IME ESCAT, a medico-educational institute for developmentally disabled young people in Marseille: here, outreach involves teaching the concepts of rhythms, pulsations, tempos, etc. based on musical fragments by Igor Stravinsky. This workshop invites young people to “overcome their limitations and become aware of their own musicality” according to Annie Notin, a specialist educator at IME Escat. And Laurent Zaffran, a teacher at the Collège des Caillols secondary school in Marseille, adds that “this workshop has enabled a free, raw expression leading to moments of grace where we no longer see the disability”. This work shows these teenagers with mental disabilities that “they are just like everybody else, with the common denominator of being highly sensitive”. With his class, Laurent will be continuing this approach by working on Pinocchio – a piece which will be performed as an opera next July at the Festival d’Aix – in order to address the issue of difference through the sensitive character of Pinocchio, with whom the young people can identify, and to explore the conflicted relationship with school.


The audience should not be passive: we have to interact with it so they can participate in the artistic creation.

Ghazi Khanchouch (ney, zokra, mezwed), 2016 intercultural session from the MYO ans Relay musician

Become Relay musicians!

If you are driven by a love of knowledge-sharing and are keen to share your art with as many people as possible – newcomers, youngsters or “remote” audiences – this course is for you!
Apply for the training sessions in order to obtain all the keys and tools you need to make your outreach projects a success.


Being a Relay musician means transmitting knowledge. It also means learning alongside the group you are working with.

Morgane Rémy (violin), Relay musician

With the support of

Région Provence Alpes Cote d'AzurArt Mentor Foundation LucerneMécénat musical Société GénéraleENOAEurope