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Les Contre-Sujets Residency December 2015

We were delighted to welcome Les Contre-Sujets to York for the NCEM's first residency as part of the EEEmerging project. The innovative young ensemble from Paris had an action-packed schedule for the 10 days that they were with us, ending with a lunchtime concert at the NCEM as part of the York Early Music Christmas Festival.

Behind the Scenes

Video from their Concert

Les Contre-Sujets is directed by Samuel Rotsztejn recorder, with Laurence Valentino, Ajay Ranganathan violins, Tania-Lio Faucon-Cohen viola, Eric Tinkerhess cello and viola da gamba, Benoît Bératto double bass and Takahisa Aida harpsichord. They were joined by baroque dancer Guillaume Jablonka who worked with student Fanny Pouillot in a collaboration with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

During their stay the ensemble gave concerts at the Universities of York and Huddersfield where they experimented with a new concept in programme-planning, inviting the audience to 'create their own concerto' by choosing their favourite piece for each movement from a selection played. They were also invited by Professor John Bryan to give a masterclass to students from Huddersfield University, they received coaching from Professor Peter Seymour of the University of York and took part in a specialist training session on working with UK promoters, led by Clare Norburn, Co-Artistic Director of Brighton Early Music Festival. 

Under the guidance of Cherry Forbes, Education Director of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, they worked with a class of 20 children. The children from Heworth Primary School were spellbound by both the instruments and their players and many returned with their teacher Molly Newton, their families and friends to Les Contre-Sujets' concert a few days later.

"Playing the harpsichord was AMAZING!!"
"This is really fun!"
"I loved walking around when they were playing and seeing and hearing the different instruments"
"It was so cool!"
"How do they move their fingers so fast?"

Les Contre-Sujets aims to bring an original approach to early music performance: sometimes using video, a touch of staging, and always interacting with the audience. Since its formation in Paris in 2011, the group has performed across Europe, including a summer residency in 2014 at La Cité de la Voix in Vézelay, France. In 2015 it was invited to take part in the Göttinger Reihe Historischer Musik series, and for this occasion the concert included a recording by leading German actress Hanna Schygulla explaining musical and historical details to the audience. In May 2015 the ensemble was a finalist in the International Early Music Competition in Loire Valley, chaired by the Paris-based baroque expert William Christie, and later in the summer the group was in residency in Ambronay, France (their first as part of the 2015 eeemerging programme), which included a masterclass with baroque violinist Enrico Onofri. Other engagements in 2015 have included concerts at the MAfestival Fringe in Bruges and Utrecht Oude Muziek Fringe, as well as a live radio broadcast of a Vivaldi cello concerto from the Amsterdam Concergebouw. Future projects include festival appearances, radio broadcasts and a partnership with Musée National Eugène Delacroix in Paris.

Images from their rehearsals and concert (click on the thumbnails to view slide show)