Countertenor starts free Paris music academy to build greater diversity in classical music

Posted on: January 22, 2018

“On a recent afternoon, the French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky greeted the parents of children who had enrolled in a music academy he founded a few months earlier on the outskirts of Paris,” writes Elian Peltier in Thursday’s (1/18) New York Times. “The new academy is rooted in the need for more diversity in classical music, both onstage and in the audience, he explained…. His new institute, the Académie Musicale Philippe Jaroussky, provides free weekly music lessons to 23 children from working-class or immigrant backgrounds. Half of those who attend classical music concerts in France are executives or managers, and their average age is 54, according to a 2015 study commissioned by the French Association of Orchestras. ‘Whether in Hamburg, in New York or in Paris, I sing before the same kind of people,’ Mr. Jaroussky said in an interview. ‘And as much as I love my audience, I’m worried that if we don’t bring more diversity onto the stage, we won’t get a younger and more diverse audience either.’ The children in the academy, ages 7 to 12, were given the choice of learning the piano, violin or cello, and receive instruments to keep throughout the three-year program.”

Posted January 22, 2018

Pictured: Amine Jerbi, left, and Macéo Mennesson-Llorente during a cello lesson last month at the music academy that Philippe Jaroussky opened outside Paris. Credit Julien Mignot / New York Times