La Roque d'Anthéron
from 22nd July until 17th August 2016
For almost 35
years, the La Roque d’Anthéron International Piano Festival has
established itself as an exceptional event in the worldwide musical and
Though the Festival sites have been diversifying over the years, the Parc du Château de Florans remains the high spot for these unclassifiable encounters where all types of music come together: classical or contemporary…all styles: jazz or electronic…and all artists: young talent as well as the greatest international players.
The acoustic qualities of this stage, ideal for piano recitals as well as concertos and symphonies, can only enhance the wonders of this magical and legendary garden that carries the whole history of the Château de Florans..
The early history...
“Petit Château” and then the “Grand Château” were built between 1598
and 1667 on the orders of the powerful De Forbin family, and largely by
Annibal de Forbin Janson. In 1653 the Seigneury of La Roque became a
Marquisate. The Château remained under the ownership of the De Forbins
until 1818 when the buildings and the grounds were sold to Louis
Raphaël de Cordoue, a descendant of whom married the Marquis de
Florans, who was from a family originating from Comtat Venaissan. So it
was during the 19th century that the Château de Forbin became the
Château de Florans. The 20th century was an important turning point in
the destiny of the Château.
In 1937, the marquise Marie de Florans, the last in the line and sole survivor of an epoch, bequeathed everything to the Archdiocese of Aix-en-Provence. A decade later, in 1948, Paul Onoratini rented and renovated the Château, and he very quickly transformed it into a medical and dietetic centre. Through strict management and constant hard work, nine years later he became the owner. Over time, the Centre Médical Soleil et Repos became the current Clinique du Château de Florans.
...The recent history...
a great interest in local life, Paul Onoratini was elected mayor of the
town of La Roque in 1959. In 1971, with the help of his son Bernard, an
interior designer and piano enthusiast, he started the “Musique à
Silvacane”, a series of seven concerts per year. Soon the DRAC (the
French Regional Council for Culture) put Paul Onoratini in contact with
René Martin, whose ambition was to create a piano festival in Aix or
the surrounding area. The discovery of the Parc de Florans by René
Martin led him to foresee wonderful possibilities for this event. Paul
Onoratini was enthusiastic about the project, and the first festival
took place in 1981. .
In the centre of the Parc, bordered by its three hundred and sixty-five plane trees, the glade is transformed by the Festival into a sanctuary where summer evenings become essential for all music lovers. So as to provide the artists with the best professional environment and the best acoustics for the audience, since its second year in operation, the Festival has made some sizeable investments :
1983: construction of rehearsal studios
1984: construction of 1400 terraced seats
1987: building of a second acoustic shell allowing philharmonic orchestras to perform
1990: Raising the height of the acoustic shell for wind instruments
1999: purchase of new terraced seating for the large stage, 1850 seats
2002: increase of the terraced seating for the large stage to 2300 seats
2007: construction of a new acoustic shell (28 metres wide by 14 meters high)
2010: purchase of new terraced seating more confortable, 2050 seats
Festival is the embodiment of an exceptional growth, continued with
reciprocal trust between the Artistic Director René Martin and the
Paul Onoratini died in January 2010.
In 2007 his son Jean-Pierre Onoratini took up the torch of the presidency of the Festival, assisted by his brother Michel.
René Martin’s reputation has nothing more to prove. As well as the La Roque Festival, the Grange de Meslay Festival and even the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud Festival, among others he has created the Moments Musicaux de l’Hermitage-Barrière at La Boule and the Folle Journée festivals in Nantes, Tokyo, Bilbao, Rio, etc...
Thanks to this happy cooperation between the Artistic Director and the President, the La Roque d’Anthéron International Piano Festival has grown whilst retaining the same spirit: a simple welcome for the artists and the audience, the quality of the concerts and the sound equipment, and the devotion of numerous faithful volunteers who create the essential element of the event. The 83,600 spectators who attended the 2012 Festival are the witnesses to the exceptional journey we have made and which leads us to believe we can continue this wonderful human and artistic adventure.