Le Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles

Created in 1987, at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, the CMBV has as its mission the rediscovery, restoration, edition, and broadest possible distribution of the French musical heritage of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a period of France's musical history which is particularly rich, but little known up to now.  In order to accomplish these aims, the CMBV gathers together researchers, editors, teachers, and performers, all specialists in this repertoire, under the same roof in the Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs* of Versailles, where they work.together.

The Centre is made up of four departments:

The research center, associated with the C.N.R.S. (national center for scientific research – in all fields). This department,  besides its research projects, also is creating a computer data base named PHILADOR, which contains, at present, 50,000 files on the music of this period and will soon be consultable on the CMBV web site (www.cmbv.com).  In addition, the CMBV library contains 20,000 books and scores, and notably, microfilms of manuscripts and original editions which are held by French and non-French libraries.  Thus the CMBV has become the premier center of documentation in the world for this repertoire.

The publishing department has, so far, edited 160 volumes of 250 works, comprised of almost 12,000 pages of music.  The Centre has thus become the principal publisher of scores of French music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, finally permitting instrumentalists and singers, both professional and amateur, to perform our repertoire.

The department of musical productions has programmed since 1987 more than 1000 concerts at the Château and in the city of Versailles, elsewhere in France and abroad, and has revived 1200 works of French music with the finest performing ensembles** directed by specialists in this repertoire.  More than 100 discs, produced over the last 10 years, preserve the memory of these great musical moments.

The department of education, since the origin of the Centre, has included  a choir  (Les Pages & les Chantres de la Chapelle).  This school provides ongoing training for 100 children and 20 or so students wishing to become chorists and/or professional solo singers.  As well, the Centre trains students in musicology from both French and foreign universities who are working on papers and dissertations.

The CMBV, which is associated with the national museum of Versailles, produces a season of concerts each year, l’Automne Musical du Château de Versailles, which has become the national and international showcase for the French repertoire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and for the interpreters who perform it. In addition, the Centre collaborates with French and non-French festivals, in order to give added worth to its research and editorial activities, and in order to acquaint a broader public with the composers of these two great centuries of our musical history.

The CMBV benefits from the financial support of the Minstry of Culture and Communication, of the Etablissement public du musée et du domaine national de Versailles for its season of concerts at the château, of the Conseil general des Yvelines et de la Ville de Versailles, and of several corporations and foundations, notably the Fondation Dokhan and the Fondation Marcelle et Robert de Lacour pour la musique et la danse.

President of the Board of Directors: Bertrand DUFOURCQ, ambassadeur de France

General Director: Vincent BERTHIER DE LIONCOURT

Scientific and artistic director: Jean DURON

Musical director of the maîtrise: Olivier SCHNEEBELI



*   this old building was the “concert production office” for the court of Louis XIV and Louis XV.


**  such as:  William Christie's Les Arts Florissants, Christophe Rousset's Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Coin's Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Skip Sempé's (OC '80) Capriccio Stravagante, Kenneth Weiss’s (OC '84) Baroque Workshop.

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