Maîtrise de la cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Toulouse

The reputation of the Maîtrise de la Cathédrale de Toulouse, has gone through the centuries, with the support of Masters and composers such as André Campra, Jean Gilles, Charles Levens, Bernard Aymab le Dupuy, Aloys and Aymé Kunc, After a period of disappearance, the Maîtrise de la Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse was recreated in 1936. Today, its reputation has crossed the borders and the choir carries on its mission of education, choral singing learning and of spreading musical pieces to a wild public.

The association is affiliated to the Fédération Française des Petits Chanteurs, which is a member of the International federation of Pueri cantores, known as a popular education movement since 1987.

In 2009 and 2010, a girls’choir and a “pre-maitrise” have been added to the boys’choir. Each formation welcome from 25 to 40 children and young people for weakly trainings of choral singing. Since September 2009, the group is directed by Luciano Bibiloni, a French-Argentinian choirmaster.

The repertoire, from sacred music to secular and word music, is continually renewed. For the last seasons, the young worked, among other works, a range of Ave Maria and Cantate Domino, the Messiah of Haendel, several masses of French composers and a rich program of secular music around the theme of the travel and exile, or written by composers such as Claude Nougaro and Benjamin Britten.

Moreover, the choir got closed to the primary and middle school Saint-Joseph of Toulouse, to create a children choir linked to the Maîtrise.

The partnership has been developing since 2009, and for now, more than 200 pupils are involved in a high quality vocal training, given by the choirmaster and his assistants.

Each year, twenty to thirty concerts are performed in Toulouse, in the region Midi-Pyrénées, in France, and even abroad. Thus, the Maîtrise went over Belgium and Switzerland (since 1946 - last time in 2008), Italy (since 1948 - last time in 2010), Netherland and Spain (since 1949 - last time in 2006), Germany (since 1964 - last time in 2011), Jordan and Israel (1965), England (since 1968), les Antilles (1984), Canada (1985 & 1992), United States (1985), Poland and Yugoslavia (1988), Portugal (1997), Lebanon (1998), Czech republic (2000) and Ukraine (2001).

The association has also welcomed French and foreign choirs performing in the region, such as La Maîtrise du Cap (Quebec) and the Petits Chanteurs de Québec in 2011 and 2010, the Andorra’s Choir and the Soleure’s Choir (Switzerland) in 2008, the Pueri Cantores of Logroño (Spain) in 2007 and the Pueri cantores of Kiev (Ukraine) in 2006.

Those multiples exchanges and tours participate to the human formation of the children by making them discover and open their minds to other cultures and ways of life.

Each summer, during their tour, they are invited to participate to the 14th of July ceremonies, where their performances are always welcomed, in embassies (Madrid - 2006) as well as in French cities.

The choir, or at least a part of it, is frequently involved in shows for which children voices are needed. In 2004, they took part in Michel Plasson’s farewell concert at Toulouse’s Zénith singing an extract of Carmen.

Recently, the choir performed the opening concert of the Festival Au Pays du Mont-Blanc, accompanied by the trio Azul – a well-know jazz trio – in a work recently created ; The Archangels of G. Di Giusto et L. Rigou. This opera, melting traditional and contemporary music, classic and jazz, paid a living and bright homage to all of those men who contributed to the aerospace adventure, among whom Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Sometimes, the Choir gives charity concerts, or performs in retirement homes and hospitals. Thus, it insures one of the aspect of their mission : serving vulnerable people.

Since 2008, the Choir has been very active in the Pueri Cantores institution, organizing one of the three national choral singing workshops set up by the French federation.

This one week workshop allowed from 70 to 80 young from Toulouse, Béziers, Marvejols, Andorre, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Rodez, Paris and other choirs to meet for an intensive training, learning a complete concert program directed by several seasoned choirmasters.

The choir also accompanies some offices at Saint-Étienne’s Cathedral, around one or two every month, especially for great celebration. This mission has been given as a service toward Toulouse’s diocese by the Archbishop since November 2009.

From the first record in the 60’s, to the most recent productions yet avalables, several has been realised. For some of them, thousands of copies have been sold.