The young institution founded in 2015 seems to have won its bet to establish itself in the cultural landscape of eastern Paris, with more than seven million visitors since its creation.
The Philharmonie de Paris, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on Tuesday, January 14, has established itself as an unmissable must-see place for classical music and has seen the number of its annual visitors jump by almost 40% since 2015. In 2019 , the Philharmonie welcomed 1.6 million visitors (concerts, educational activities, all-inclusive exhibitions), breaking its own 2018 record (1.3 M), according to a report sent to AFP.
Even at the height of the strike in December, all the concerts were sold out, even if, for certain evenings, part of the public (20 to 25%) was finally unable to move. “Compared to five years ago, the brand “Philharmonie de Paris” is more universally posed and there is national buy-in “, told AFP its general manager Laurent Bayle. “I feel it abroad, it is the model we are talking about today”.
Recipe for success? Impeccable acoustics, a program attracting conductors and star singers and opening up to world music, contemporary creation, jazz, pop and rock, and film concerts. This musical vessel has also been able to encourage a new audience to come and see its exhibitions (currently one on Charlie Chaplin) without counting the multiple educational activities for children and family, which have almost doubled in five years.
Visitors outside concerts represent more than half of the total number of visitors to the Philharmonie. “It’s a cocktail that works well”, says Laurent Bayle. “Concert halls around the world constantly ask themselves the question of generational renewal of the public”he said. “Now if I have a 100% classical music model, it goes in circles”. “Even with a few participative or family concerts, it only works on the fringes. New proposals are needed around the concert hall”.
According to him, it is about “uninhibit the public who, by going to an exhibition, then to an initiation workshop, would perhaps be less intimidated by a classical concert because they would be in contact with the place”. Located in the Parc de la Villette and adjoining the Cité de la Musique which celebrates its 25th anniversary, it gives pride of place to the youngest with the expected inauguration next year of “The Children’s Philharmonic” and is developing more and more “Demos”, program initiated in 2010 to create orchestras with children from popular backgrounds.
The Philharmonie is also increasingly giving priority to the issue of parity, inviting five orchestra conductors for the 2019-2020 season and organizing the first international orchestra conductors competition in March. The Orchester de Paris, now attached to the Philharmonie, is awaiting the name of its new director for this spring, after the departure of Briton Daniel Harding last summer. As for Laurent Bayle, 68, he finishes his mandate in 2021 and the age limit should mean the arrival of a new director.