Six directors at the head of the Festival

  • 1948 - 1972
  • 1974 - 1981
  • 1982 - 1996
  • 1998 - 2006
  • 2007 - 2018
  • Since 2019
  • From Gabriel Dussurget to Pierre Audi, six directors at the head of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence since 1948.

    1948-1972: Gabriel Dussurget

    Date and place of birth:
    31 December 1904 in Aïn M’lila, Algeria

    Died:
    28 July 1996 in Paris

    Founded the Festival at the age of 44 and directed it for 24 years

    Special interests:
    Mozart, opening to other repertoires, notably French contemporary works. Loved discovering talented newcomers

    Characteristics:
    first impresario then artistic adviser at the Opéra National de Paris from 1959 to 1972

    Nickname:
    the Magician of Aix

    Gabriel Dussurget interviewed by Ève Ruggieri in Aix-en-Provence, 22 July 1992 (INA)

    I always personally auditioned all the singers I hired. (…) And in the role I had in mind for them. And not just one aria: I wanted them to sing almost the entire work and say all the recitatives. (…) To discover the right one, I listened to many. I spent my time doing that.

    Gabriel Dussurget
  • 1974-1981: Bernard Lefort

    Date and place of birth:
    29 July 1922 in Paris

    Died:
    January 1999 in Paris

    At the age of 52, he became director of the Festival, which he led for seven years

    Special interests:
    bel canto, voice in all its aspects

    Characteristics:
    worked as a baritone before illness put an end to his career as a singer. Director of the Opéra de Marseille from 1965 to 1968.

    Bernard Lefort with Jacques Chancel on Radioscopie, 1 July 1975 (INA)

    The Festival must continue to be a great festival of song: singing will reign as the absolute master, and each season will focus entirely or partly on it.

    Bernard Lefort
  • 1982-1996: Louis Erlo

    Date and place of birth:
    26 April 1929 

    At the age of 53, he became director of the Festival, which he led for 14 years

    Special interests:
    rediscovery of baroque operas

    Characteristics:
    director the Opéra de Lyon from 1969 to 1973 and of the Opéra Studio de Lyon from 1973 to 1979

    Yves Morousi interviewing Louis Erlo, TF1, 22 July 1982 (INA) 

    When I took over responsibility for the Festival, my first wish was not to disturb this mysterious equilibrium that depends on so many intangible things and that makes everyone who has come to Aix say that music here is not quite the same as elsewhere.

    Louis Erlo
  • 1998-2006: Stéphane Lissner

    Date and place of birth:
    23 January 1953 in Paris

    At the age of 45, he became director of the Festival, which he led for nine years

    Special interests:
    intermingling the worlds of music, theatre and dance; opening to contemporary creation and to Wagner

    Characteristics:
    creator of the Académie du Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. After directing Le Châtelet, he became director of the Scala de Milan and later the Opéra de Paris, in 2014

    Stéphane Lissner with Bruno Roger Petit in JA2 dernière (France 2), 22 June 1998 (INA)

  • 2007-2018: Bernard Foccroulle

    Date and place of birth:
    23 November 1953 in Liège

    Became director of the Festival at the age of 54

    Special interests:
    creation of operas, opening to the Mediterranean, multicultural projects

    Characteristics:
    he led the Théâtre de la Monnaie de Bruxelles from 1992 to 2007. He is also an organist and composer.

    Bernard Foccroulle just after being appointed as Festival director, France 3 news, 30 June 2007 (INA

    Appeal to a very wide audience and allow it, thanks to the performers' voices, to interpret the emerging world of tomorrow.

    Bernard Foccroulle
  • Since 2019: Pierre Audi

    Date and place of birth:
    9 November 1957 in Beirut

    Special interests:
    Opera Stage Direction: operas from across the whole repertoire including many by Mozart, Glück, Berlioz, Rameau, Rossini, Schönberg and Händel and Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

    Repertoire of contemporary music theater works by Harrison Birtwistle, Morton Feldman, Claude Vivier, Theo Loevendie, Guus Janssen, Jonathan Harvey, Hans Werner Henze, Tan Dun, Param Vir, Kaija Saariaho, Alexander Knaifel, Pascal Dusapin, Louis Andriessen and Wolfgang Rihm.

    Collaboration with many visual artists notably Karel Appel, Georg Baselitz, Anish Kapoor, Herzog & de Meuron, Jannis Kounellis, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Jonathan Meese.

    Career:
    He founds the Almeida Theatre in London and its Festival of Contemporary Music in 1979, is director of Dutch National Opera from 1988 to 2018, founds and becomes artistic director of the Holland Festival from 2004 to 2014 and is appointed in 2015 Artistic director of the Park Avenue Armory in New York.

    Awards:
    His numerous awards include the Leslie Boosey Award for his contribution to British Musical Life, Medal of Honour, Drottninholm Sweden, the Prize of Holland’s Theater Critics, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Theater Prize and the Amsterdam Cultural Business Award. He becomes in 2009 the first recipient of the Johannes Vermeer Award, State prize for the arts in The Netherlands. He was knighted in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2000 and was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur a few years later.

    Pierre Audi interviewed by the Associated Press on 23 May 2018

    I am proud to be part of starting in 2019 a new chapter in the Festival’s distinguished history, articulating a vision that builds on the achievements of my predecessors especially in affirming the relevance of opera and music of the last 400 years through its perpetual evolution, to our modern, increasingly dissipated, world.

    Pierre Audi