THE ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE LILLE
The Orchestre National de Lille was established with the backing of the Nord-Pas de Calais region and state support in 1976, and since that date has pursued an ambitious artistic outreach policy, on the initiative of Jean-Claude Casadesus. Its aims are to make the repertoire better known, foster new music (particularly by appointing composers-in-residence, such as this season’s Bruno Mantovani, the 2009 Victoires de la Musique Classique’s “composer of the year”), promote fresh talent, and educational and youth projects. International conductors and soloists are invited by the orchestra’s director to collaborate in what he defines as “taking music to everywhere it can go”.
Over a period of thirty years, the Orchestre National de Lille has thus established itself as no less than an ambassador for the region and for French culture, whether at home in France, abroad or in the nearly two hundred local authorities that make up the Nord-Pas de Calais region and which, in a model example of decentralisation, it sustains musically. The orchestra’s work has taken it to four continents and more than thirty countries, and Jean-Claude Casadesus’s new season at the helm of his orchestra is marked by two international events: a first-ever tour to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, then another to China, for Expo 2010 Shanghai. They are also invited to Russia in the context of the 2010 France-Russia year.
The Orchestre National de Lille makes regular broadcasts on radio and television and its dynamic approach in the recording studio is demonstrated by a recent disc devoted to the music of Thierry Escaich, composer-in-residence between 2003 and 2005 (it won a Choc de l’Annee du Monde de la Musique in 2007). A second disc of music by Canteloube was awarded an Orphee d’or by the Academie du disque lyrique and the Prix SACD for the best recording of music by a French composer. This followed on from the first volume of the Chants d’Auvergne, which was the Naxos label’s international best-selling disc in 2005. The Orchestre National de Lille is the first French orchestra to have recorded Walton’s two symphonies on the BIS label.