Five directors at the head of the Festival

1948 - 1972

From Gabriel Dussurget to Bernard Foccroulle, five 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

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

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 - 2007

1998-2007: 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)

Since 2007

Since  2007: 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