LES ARTS FLORISSANTS BEGINS 2018 WITH OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF FONDATION LES ARTS FLORISSANTS-WILLIAM CHRISTIE THAT WILL SECURE THE LEGACY AND OVERSEE THE MULTI-FACETED WORK OF THE ACCLAIMED ARTS ORGANIZATION
William Christie Honored by the French Ministry of Culture
Paris, France - With its 2018-2019, 40th-anniversary season on the horizon, Les Arts Florissants begins 2018 celebrating signal achievements for the organization and founder-conductor William Christie. On January 29, 2018, the new Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie held its first board meeting, marking the official launch of the institution that will perpetuate William Christie's life's work in music and the art of gardens. The acclaimed Les Arts Florissants embraces performance, education, audience development, recording, and publishing. Christie's Thiré estate and gardens, and extended projects in the Vendée region of France, were recognized in 2017 as a Centre Culturel de Rencontre (Cultural Center). The Fondation unites all of Les Arts Florissants and Thiré's activities into a vibrant resource for future generations.
The Fondation - incorporating an international music organization and a French heritage site - is the first of its kind in France. Its creation was authorized by the French government in November 2017 and certified the government's recognition of Les Arts' collective endeavors as beneficial to the French public (fondation d'utilité publique). Along with sustaining an important heritage site, the unique legal entity will oversee all of the artistic, educational, and public outreach activities of Les Arts Florissants, and the preservation and management of assets - from Thiré's buildings and acclaimed gardens to Les Arts' numerous recordings and publications. Christie's gift of his entire Thiré estate, as well as several houses and land in the village, was the crucial step to the Fondation's establishment.
Further recognizing Maestro Christie and Les Arts Florissants' contributions to French culture, on February 7, 2018, the French Ministry of Culture honored William Christie, through the auspices of the Bureau d'Export de la Musique Française, as an ambassador for French culture around the world.
Commenting on the official launch of the Fondation, Christie said, "Almost 40 years ago, a group of friends and I founded Les Arts Florissants to rediscover and perform the magnificent French Baroque repertoire. During that time, I've achieved another of my lifetime dreams in the Vendée: creating a unique garden around my 17th-century house, which has become the setting for Dans les Jardins de William Christie and our Spring Festival. It was time to put Les Arts Florissants on a firm footing and secure the future of all these endeavors for new generations of artists and audiences, and the establishment of Fondation Les Arts Florissants-William Christie does exactly that. I thank our wonderful donors and patrons for their visionary support of this new and great adventure."
An initial endowment was required for the creation of the Fondation and it now exceeds €1.7 million thanks to William Christie's gifting of his estate, and to generous donations from supporters including American Friends of Les Arts Florissants, and European Friends. The project also received funding from the Région Pays de la Loire, the Département de la Vendée, and the Commune de Thiré. A major fundraising campaign is underway to further the Fondation's mission, including continuing the restoration and expansion of sites in Thiré to better serve artists, educators, and the public. Support can be made through American Friends of Les Arts Florissants.