The Musique Cordiale International Festival & Academy is a unique festival in the South of France situated in hill towns between Nice and Aix-en-Provence. 2017 will be the 13th festival and will feature over 18 concerts including major choral and orchestral works, chamber ensembles, free lunchtime concerts and late night recitals in churches, chapels and under the stars.
Musique Cordiale started with a dream of Pippa Pawlik to perform Bach’s B Minor Mass in the church in Seillans in 2005. As a former professional violist, she invited her musician friends for a musical holiday – with wine included – and this developed into a festival. The choral tradition remains the integral part of Musique Cordiale and a major work for choir closes the festival each year. The choir is made up of excellent amateur and professional singers from ensembles including The Bach Choir, the London Symphony Chorus, Groupe Vocal Arpège de Bordeaux and the Ensemble Equinox.
The Festival Orchestra is a multi-generational ensemble made up of young professionals and established musicians from orchestras including the LSO, the OAE, the Tonhalle Zurich and the Oslo Philharmonic. Musique Cordiale acts as a platform for burgeoning soloists and orchestral players, offering them an opportunity to learn and perform works which they will later play on the international stage.
Each year, Pippa invites accomplished conductors to direct the orchestra and the choir. The idyllic surroundings of the Pays de Fayence provide a unique setting for these musicians and singers to perform together in an informal, Provençal environment.
Since 2005, performances have included Mozart’s C minor Mass and Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Haydn’s Te Deum and Nelson Mass, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Fauré’s Requiem. Operas staged include Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte, Puccini’s La Boheme and Rossini’s Barber of Seville.
Pippa Pawlik studied the violin at the Royal College of Music in London and played professionally in London and Switzerland. With two young children, she then changed direction and worked in music promotion with record companies, international orchestras, festivals and artists from all over the world. Pippa now lives and works in Kent, having relaunched her PR business with clients in America, Germany and the UK. She also acts as a mentor, offering musicians career guidance, inspiration and brainstorming strategies.
‘Bringing music to life’ Pippa is supported by many friends and volunteers who give their time or financial support to make the festival a success including members of the Conseil d’administration. A vital element in this has been generous support from local government including the Mayor & Municipality of Seillans, the Community of Communes of the Pays de Fayence and the coastal town of Saint-Raphael.
The Festival is staged by L’Association Musique Cordiale, a French organisation, whose object is to encourage cultural exchange within Europe and internationally for the promotion of the study and performance of music and song. Its elected Conseil d’Administration is responsible for its management and strategy. The association is to be supported by a UK non-profit body, The Musique Cordiale Trust, which will promote high quality music and education of musicians from all over Europe.
Musique Cordiale has become a major cultural event in the Var. It plays an important role in nurturing a pan-European Entente Cordiale for musicians and audiences – both local and visiting – who also appreciate the breath-taking scenery and gastronomic pleasures of the region. Many are surprised to discover such high quality music-making in this rural pocket of Provence.