2012 Festival

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© Thomas Guillin

Xavier Darasse 1934 - 1992
A whole life to spread music


The 17th international Toulouse les Orgues Festival pays homage to the virtuoso musician, daring composer and gifted teacher Xavier Darasse. The tenacious enthusiasm of this native of Toulouse was behind the restoration of many of the Midi-Pyrenees region’s exceptional organs and the building of new ones. He also created festivals and invited musicians from all horizons. The programme is a tribute to this great man, passionate and curious of all styles of music.

« I never wanted to be an organist ; I wanted to be a musician who plays the organ. That is to say… nothing specific! » X.D.
The generosity and the curiosity of Xavier Darasse, who died 20 years ago, inspired this 17th edition of Toulouse les Orgues Festival. But this programme, thought for neophytes as well as confirmed music-lovers, is nothing but a travel through time and sounds so that both experts and those who have never heard organ will be won over and surprised.

A travel through time
From Machaut to Amy, from Bach and Berlioz to Burgan and Darasse, the oldest works will meet the latest :
The three “Inventions” composed by Gilbert Amy in the memory of Xavier Darasse will be inserted into a masterpiece of musique : Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe Notre Dame.
In the same way, the Maîtrise de Notre Dame de Paris and Les Sacqueboutiers will perform renaissance anthems and contemporary ones, with contemporary and ancients organ pieces.
To end the Festival, the Chœur de chambre Les éléments will celebrate its 15th anniversary with J.S. Bach and nowadays composers.

A melting of styles
Toulouse les Orgues Festival gather around the organ many artistic forms and instruments - Classic and Jazz, improvisations, dance, theatre and cinema, organ and harpsichord… - The British singers Voces8 will perform works from Byrd to Gershwin while Olivier Latry will open the Festival turning Saint-Sernin organ into a whole orchestra for The Rite of Spring.

Human encounters
These ones are for sure the strongest. There will be deeply moving gathering such as those of the great improviser and composer Reitze Smits with the poet Tsjêbbe Hettinga, or the organist Aart Bergwerff with a bewitching Whirling Dervish, Kadir Sonuk.

Organ for all!
Exceptional artists are coming this year from all around the world, among whom great organists such as Bernard Foccroule, William Whitehead, Rudolf Lutz, Bernhard Haas, Wolfgang Zerer or François Espinasse.
« I contributed trying to take the organ out of its chapel. The instrument belongs to everyone. An organist is like a Rolls Royce driver : the car isn’t his. I consider that it is quite the same about the organ. » X.D.


Michel Bouvard,
Toulouse les Orgues artistic director


Discover 2012 program