After the horrors of Nice, life is coming back in timid steps. Among the first public events: The Festival de St. Paul de Vence.

Nice and its neighbouring communities are a close-knit region and even though every town has its own distinct personality, they all are proud to belong to the Countea, sticking together in good days and in bad. The shockwaves of the horrific July 14 attacks touched them no less than their big sister city. All life on the Riviera virtually stood still, and all joyful events were cancelled.

But Azureans are resilient, and after painful days of mourning, new life is slowly awakening. Among the first to reopen its doors is the Festival of Chamber Music of Saint-Paul de Vence, which has established itself as a highlight in the summer concert calendar. It is a courageous choice made by the organizers not to cancel but one that can well be understood. Classical music is traditionally a medium that heals and soothes.

St Paul de Vence festival
We decided to go forward with the 2016 Festival de Saint-Paul de Vence. This was not an easy decision to take because the entire festival team is of course deeply affected by the tragic events in Nice. But we refused to yield to horror, silencing what guides us and what seems more important than ever: bring music and culture to life and boost these values through listening, sharing and meeting,” festival founder and director Julien Kieffer tells us. The organizers are also working closely with the city of St. Paul de Vence to ensure public safety.

And although the programme for this 6th edition from July 22 through 31 had been chosen months ago, it seems particularly appropriate for this difficult time between mourning and hope of better days. The six concerts, performed at two spectacular open air locations – the magical parvis backing the 14th century fortification of the hillside town of St. Paul de Vence with sweeping views over the wide valley at its feet, and the exquisite courtyard of the Fondation Maeght – presents an extraordinary artistic lineup and a unique mix of well-known and lesser-played pieces:

Friday, 22 July • Place de la Courtine • 21h
Vadim Repin & Andreï Korobeinikov

Vadim Repin & Andreï KorobeinikovVadim Repin, whom Yehudi Menuhin once called ”the best and most perfect violinist ever” opens the festival with his one and only summer concert this year, accompanied by Andreï Korobeinikov, who at only 30 years of age, has enjoyed an exceptional international career in 40 countries around the world, playing solo and with virtually every great international Philharmonic Orchestra and classical musician.

DEBUSSY – SonateProkofiev – Sonate n°2
STRAVINSKY – Divertimento
TCHAIKOVSKY – Méditation op. 42 n°1
TCHAIKOVSKY – Waltz Scherzo op. 23

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Sunday, 24 July • Place de la Courtine • 21h
Quatuor Modigliani & Julian Rachlin

Within just a few years, Quatuor Modigliani (Philippe Bernhard, violin; Loïc Rio, violin; Laurent Marfaing, viola; François Kieffer, cello) has become the most sought-after French quartet in the world. For the first time, it welcomes Julian Rachlin, the exceptional Lithuanian violinist and violist who, together with Evgeny Kissin et Misha Maisky, recently took the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées by storm.

SCHUBERT Quartettsatz
SCHUMANN Quartet op. 41.3
MOZART Quintet for two violins, two violas and a cello op. 516

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Tuesday, 26 July • Place de la Courtine • 21h
Hélène Mercier & Louis Lortie

Friends who have known each other from childhood, these two pianists know each other’s play by heart. Fiercely supportive of the other’s individual international career, they still manage to fuse into one artistic entity, whether on one or two instruments.

RACHMANINOV Fantaisie – Tableaux op. 5
RAVEL Rhapsodie Espagnole
RACHMANINOV Danses Symphoniques

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Thursday, 28 July • Fondation Maeght • 21h
Francesco Tristano

Francesco TristanoFree, pushing boundaries, original – pianist and composer Francesco Tristano breaks down the barriers between classical, jazz and contemporary music : sometimes provocative but always intelligent and respectful of genres. The Fondation Maeght is the perfect backdrop for this travel between styles, musical language, formal and improvised play.

Works by J.S. BACH
Works by F. TRISTANO

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Saturday, 30 July • Place de la Courtine • 21h
Beatrice Rana

Beatrice Rana
At the cusp of an exceptional career, the 22 year old pianist impresses with her astonishing maturity and profound musicality. She was recently selected to participate in the highly competitive BBC New Generation Artists programme and issued her first album. Her concert is preceded by a conference about the Bach Variations by Louvre concert programmer and journalist Laurent Murano, starting at 19 h.

J.S. BACH Goldberg Variations

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Sunday, 31 July • Place de la Courtine • 21h
Nicolas Dautricourt, Antoine Dreyfuss & DongHyek Lim

Nicolas Dautricourt et ses amis
The closing concert of the 6th edition, the Festival features two concerts in one. In partnership with “The Korean Year in France”, one of Asia’s leading young pianists, DongHyek Lim performs a Chopin recital, followed by a Brahms trio where he joins acclaimed French musicians Nicolas Dautricourt (violin) and Antoine Dreyfuss (horn).

CHOPIN recital for piano
J. BRAHMS op. 40 for violin, horn and piano

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St Paul de Vence festival
An ambitious programme with an emphasis on joy, spirit, and elegance, which will do much to ease the pain of the last days and weeks, and restore our hopeful outlook for a better, safer tomorrow.

Ticket cost from €30 and are available online (follow the links above) and from the Office de tourisme de Saint-Paul de Vence, telephone +33 4 93 32 45 82. There is also a 3 day pass (€81) and a 6 day festival pass available, costing €144.


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All photos courtesy Festival de Musique de Chambre de Saint-Paul de Vence


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