The core purpose of the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon is to take music to new heights and share the experience of live music with everyone.
MUSIC, THE EXPRESSION OF OUR HUMANITY
" Music is essential for building a humanistic society. It frees the imagination, broadens the range of emotions and sensations, and reveals to us what we are. It touches that part of us that is deeply human. It also draws us together, because music is played and listened to with others.
It is because we believe in the power of music that we are endeavouring to expand our initiatives and build our openness to others. It has deeply touched us. Accordingly, we want to give everyone the opportunity to experience how much music - at the high level of excellence that is the hallmark of the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon - opens doors, transforms us, and changes the world around us and the way we see our world.
I firmly believe that access to art in general and music in particular helps our society achieve its full potential and helps us, as individuals, find self-fulfilment. Together with the artistic, administrative and technical teams, who are deeply committed to their role within the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon, I hope to give everyone that urge to experience music in all its fullness."
Aline Sam-Giao, Chief Executive Officer
A REMARKABLE TOOL FOR CREATING SHARED EMOTIONS
The Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon is a tool for creating emotions, shared experiences and innovation. It is defined by its constant search for artistic excellence as it caters for as broad an audience as possible, keeping up with its times and reflecting its environment.
Our institution enjoys the rare tandem of a 2,000-seat concert hall in a remarkable building awarded "20th century heritage" status and a symphony orchestra with over a century of history and 104 resident players. The Lyon Auditorium boasts an even more singular feature in that it is the only French concert hall outside Paris to house a grand concert organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll and dating from the 1878 Paris World Fair.
DEMANDING STANDARDS AND BROAD AUDIENCE APPEAL
Every day, we devote these exceptional assets to our public service missions :
Two-thirds of the Auditorium's concerts are performed by the Orchestre national de Lyon, which is the centrepiece of our project. Alongside from the concerts it gives in this hall, built for it in 1875, the orchestra is frequently heard in France through regular broadcasts of is concerts on special-interest radios and television channels, and abroad through an ongoing recording policy and regular tours. Its repertoire extends from the late Baroque period up to the 21st century, with a special focus on French music. The orchestra's international renown and the very high attendance at its concerts at the Auditorium (over 90% of the seats sold in the latest seasons) are clear indications of the orchestra's quality, which the successive music directors and conductors have strived to develop. Offering audiences the best possible musical quality is an inherent feature of our project.
Every season, the Orchestre national de Lyon gives around 30 concerts away from home and does one or two international tours. It was the first European orchestra to visit China after the Cultural Revolution. It frequently presented its programmes in Europe (in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and others), as well as in the United States, China, Japan and, very recently, Russia. It performs at the Philharmonie de Paris and is a regular guest at international festivals in France and abroad. These concerts are often an opportunity for the orchestra's patrons, and in particular the City of Lyon, to nurture their relations with the orchestra's host cities for the purposes of economic, tourism-related or diplomatic networking.
We strive to cover the broadest possible range of aesthetics, styles and formats around our core activity - symphonic music - with a view to opening doors to music through a choice of symphony concerts, recitals, chamber music, organ music, live cinema concerts, jazz, contemporary music, Expresso concerts, Afterwork concerts, children's concerts and more. Every year, over 150 concerts are held in the Auditorium and attended by 250,000 concert-goers.
In our drive for artistic excellence and influence, we are also eager to regularly host internationally-renowned conductors, soloists and orchestras.
We forge close ties with artists, composers, players and conductors, with whom we work closely for a season or more.
To carry out these projects, we also work with quality artistic partners such as Jazz à Vienne, Les Grands interprètes, GRAME, the Centre national de création musicale and the Festival d’Ambronay. We take part in Lyon's major cultural and artistic events, such as the Biennale de la danse, the Festival Lumière, the Nuits sonores and the Nuits de Fourvière.
Lastly, we invite regional artists and groups to perform onstage at the Auditorium, to support their projects and help them reach a wider audience. Examples include the Orchestre national d’Auvergne, Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, Opéra de Lyon and its choir school, the Spirito chamber choir and, in recent seasons, Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu, Les Nouveaux Caractères, the Calliope choir, Maîtrise de la primatiale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Quatuor Debussy, to name just a few.
Everyone, whatever their age or their degree of familiarity with music, is guided and supported as they develop their musical knowledge or practice.
There are nearly 200 events every season, including sound workshops, tours, lectures and pre-concert introductions. The creation of a dedicated learning area in 2019 has enabled new forms of practical workshop to be developed, accessible to people of all ages (from three-month old babies upwards).
The youth concerts, which began over 20 years for children aged three and over, are a standard-setter for quality and inventiveness in the Lyon area.
Under-28-year-olds make up 20% of the Auditorium's concert-goers. This has been achieved through very attractive pricing and concerts specifically designed for youth audiences, such as free students-only concerts and concerts for schools.
Support contemporary creation through a policy of commissions and musical creation, the programming of contemporary works and heritage research; guide and support young artists by working with the CRR (regional music school) and the CNSMD (national music and dance school) in Lyon, or by contributing to competitions for young conductors and organists; promote amateur music making by involving amateur instrumentalists or choir members in concerts each year.
We care deeply about making music accessible to as many people as possible, including those in difficult social circumstances. We do this through varied programming, attractive prices, cultural and awareness-raising initiatives (the DÉMOS project – a socially-oriented musical and orchestral outreach programme – with initiatives in hospitals and prisons), artistic and cultural education projects in schools (over 12,000 pupils received each season), etc. The Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon works hand-in-hand with all of the regional stakeholders to disseminate music throughout the region.
MORE OPEN AND LIVELY
Since establishing their base in the Part-Dieu district in 1975, the Orchestre national de Lyon and the Auditorium have continually evolved as they seek out the latest developments and monitor changes in their audience's expectations. We are constantly coming up with new ideas to encourage everyone to come to the Auditorium and feel at home here.
Today, this energy and drive is embodied by Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider. This internationally-acclaimed violinist is taking the musical direction of the Orchestre national de Lyon in September 2020 for an initial period of four years. This charismatic conductor is thoroughly in step with his times, leading the orchestra into even more demanding music, while at the same time easing access with inventive, participatory formats. This globe-trotting musician is settling in Lyon to take up his first position as Music Director, and eager to establish a dialogue with the people of Lyon.
He is deeply attached to the European Romantic and Post-Romantic repertoire and is spearheading an artistic line that leans heavily towards this repertoire (he led the ONL on its first tour of Russia with Mahler's First Symphony). At the same time, though, he is developing the orchestra's excellence in the French repertoire, as well as in contemporary music and even opera – a musical genre he adores. Above all else, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider is a musician. He enjoys working with other artists, some of whom are the greatest soloists in the musical world. His profound musicality galvanises his musicians in the ONL and, together, they can attain a rare depth and musical beauty that touch the audience's heart.
Our goal for the Auditorium and the Orchestre national de Lyon is for them both to become more open to society and to their geographical surroundings. And move lively: we hope they will light a spark in concert-goers, that warms them and lives on in them for a long time afterwards. We are endeavouring to maintain some form of life and activity in the Auditorium before and after concerts and even outside concert time frames.
The Espace découverte learning area also contributes towards this objective by running practical workshops and introductory workshops in the evenings (excepting concert evenings) on Wednesday and Saturday.
But perhaps the most visible sign of this ambition is the transformation of our bar and restaurant into a venue in its own right. Now run by the bustling La Commune team, this friendly, welcoming spot opening out onto the Part-Dieu district is open for lunch or theme evenings. Our goal is to let you take time out for an enjoyable, relaxing break from the city's hustle and bustle. We have turned our atrium into a relaxed, readily-accessible and visible area where people will enjoy meeting friends for a drink and a bite.
The Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon enjoys a prime location in the heart of the Part-Dieu business district, where one would be hard-pressed to find similarly extensive open spaces within the dense network of businesses. As such, the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon intends to play an active role in its fast-changing environment. In interaction with not only the employees but also the managers of the local business community, it is developing a programme of activities suitable for people who work, with Expresso concerts, Afterwork events, team-building workshops drawing on artistic practices, and more. It is also developing a range of partnership and sponsorship opportunities specifically for corporate organisations and designed to provide tailored advice and guidance for the projects and ambitions of the participating businesses.
"Si 2020-2021 a été une « saison noire » dans l’histoire de cette structure du fait des 7 mois de fermeture administrative liée à la crise sanitaire - une saison complètement hors norme avec des chiffres jamais vus auparavant, si elle a profondément transformé la façon de travailler des équipes, cette rétrospective est le reflet d’une activité intense menée derrière les portes fermées et témoigne de missions intangibles que nous avons la satisfaction d’avoir pu mener quand même à bien."
Aline Sam-Giao, directrice générale