Jean-François SÉNART

   English vita (since 1990)

               French-born Canadian orchestral and choral conductor/pedagogue Jean-François Sénart has made his home in Aix-en-Provence since 1990. His previous vast professional experience in Quebec has led him to assume multiple musical projects and responsibilities in continual pursuit of his career as a performer.

For a period of three years, Sénart led the ensemble Vocal Provence, an Aix-based section of the Choeur Régional PACA, with whom he recorded Darius Milhaud’s Service Sacré. Another three years were spent in Montpellier conducting the Choeur Régional Languedoc-Roussillon as well as that administrative region’s Centre d’Études Polyphoniques choir. In addition to these activities, at the national level he undertook the pedagogical mission of training amateur choir conductors under the auspices of the Mouvement A Coeur Joie. During his tenure as Professor of Conducting at the Conservatoire of Aix-en-Provence from September 1995 to April 2008, for 18 years he also assumed the position of Music Director at St-Sauveur Cathedral, founding the high-level vocal ensemble Schola St-Sauveur, a group principally devoted to the performance of sacred polyphonic works.

                 

                   Since 1993, Jean-François Sénart has led a week-long summer academy in July aimed at deepening musical interpretation through the immense repertoire of polyphonic works of all styles and periods.

These academies originally took place at the Abbey of Sylvanès in the Aveyron department and more recently, at Vars in the Hautes-Alpes.

                  With violist and composer Mahyar Mivetchian, Sénart founded the professional chamber orchestra Les Archets du Roy René in 2005. With this ensemble, he continues to present numerous concerts for a growing number of music-loving audiences in the Pays d’Aix.

                 Apart from the aforementioned Service Sacré by Milhaud, other notable accomplishments during his time in Provence include performances of Arthur Honegger’s Nicolas de Flue, Cantate de Noël and Le Roi David; J.S. Bach’s St John Passion, Mass in B minor, and Christmas Oratorio; Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem and Great Mass in C minor. With the Tübingen Youth Orchestra and some hundred choristers, he conducted the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, marking 50 years since Tübingen and Aix-en-Province became twin cities. Another landmark was his June 1996 performance of Charles Gounod’s Rédemption for the second edition of Polyphonies Françaises en Pays d’Aix, with four hundred and fifty choristers and the Orchestre Lyrique Régional de l’Opéra d’Avignon, an event that took place at the Vitrolles Stadium in front of more than two thousand people. In 1998, he conducted the world premiere of J. Berthier’s Requiem, also recording this work with the Schola St-Sauveur and the titular organist of Aix Cathedral Chantal De Zeew, under the Studio SM label. With the latter vocal ensemble, he also recorded the complete sacred polyphonic works of early 20th-century French composer Mel Bonis, under the Voice of Lyrics label. He conducted Les Archets du Roy René in an independently produced recording of Handel’s Dixit Dominus and excerpts from Messiah.

For the 2017-2018 season, Jean-François Sénart is preparing a chamber music CD with Les Archets du Roy René, as well as a performance of J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion featuring student interns from Vars and the Virili Voci and Mel Bonis vocal ensembles from Aix-en-Provence.

Updated March 2017

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Jean-François SÉNART and Pierre GRANDMAISON

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