New Patrons


The New Patrons
of Paris

Patrons Louise Albertini and Julien Thomast

© Le Parisien/O. Lejeune

Il fait novembre en mon âme

Patrons*innen: Louise Albertini and Julien Thomast,

Mediators: Bruno Messina (Association Eole),

Artists: Bechara El Khoury,

Cooperation Partners and Sponsors: Fondation de France,

Duration: 2017 – 2020

On 13 November 2020, five years after the terrorist attacks in Paris in the Bataclan club, among others, the symphonic poem Il fait novembre en mon âme (It's November in my soul) was broadcasted for the first time. This work, initiated by the parents of Stéphane killed during the attacks, is the result of a long journey marked by the pain of the loss of a child, the desire to overcome this suffering, and exchanges between the family and the artist.

On November 13, 2015, the lives of Louise Albertini and Julien Thomast were turned upside down when they learned that their son and son-in-law, Stéphane, had been shot dead by terrorists at the Bataclan. From now on, they will have to live with the unbearable.

In 2017, they visit the exhibition The Road to Guernica by Picasso in Madrid. That day, in front of the famous painting by the Spanish painter, their project was born. "Guernica marks the day and place of the bombing of a small Basque town. Under Picasso's brush, a specific day and place become universal: the horror of violence, pain and revolt in the face of human madness, but also light and hope," Louise Albertini recalls. "It is a multitude of individual dramas that are today inscribed in history, and shared by all". Facing Picasso's painting, Louise and her husband are planning a great work of art in memory of the victims of terrorism.

Isabelle Druet (mezzo-soprano), Pierre Bleuse (conductor) and the Paris chamber orchestra

© cdherouville/Philharmonie de Paris

They then imagined a public commission and asked the President of the Republic, the Ministry of Culture. But despite the warm welcome they received, the project made little progress. "We continued to prospect and meet painters," explains Louise Albertini. "I then came across the work of the historian Patrick Boucheron, and his book Conjurer la peur - Essai sur la force politique des images, published after the attacks. Our project was precisely in line with this perspective. I contacted him and he immediately supported our idea. He then directed us towards the Fondation de France's New Patrons programme. It was a decisive meeting."

Gradually, the project of a musical work emerges. "While a painting, after a period of exposure, risks disappearing in a museum's storeroom, a composition is immaterial: it can be taken up and performed at any time and in any place on the planet," emphasises Louise Albertini. "We hope that this creation will live on beyond the commemorations of November 13, as a tribute to all the victims of terrorism, everywhere in the world."

Music is a universal language and it has helped us to express what was so difficult to put into words.

Mediator Bruno Messina, musician and artistic director of the Berlioz Festival, introduced Stéphane's parents to the Franco-Lebanese composer Bechara El Khoury. "We were seduced by his writing, accessible, imbued with an emotional force capable of evoking violence as well as consolation and hope. But also by his Franco-Lebanese origins, at the crossroads of Mediterranean cultures. We had a long discussion with him, and made the decision to entrust him with the project ".

The proposal immediately met with the interest of the Paris Chamber Orchestra, which has been engaged in many civic actions. The world premiere was initially scheduled to take place in public, Salle Gaveau on 10 November 2020. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the concert took place without an audience but was captured by the Philharmonie de Paris, for an online broadcast on 13 November 2020, and later on France Musique and Arte Concert. "We are happy that the work is being performed on this anniversary date. But as soon as the health situation allows, we are of course dreaming of a public performance."

Bechara El-Khoury, 2020

© Les Nouveaux Commanditaires

Bringing together people who share emotion and beauty – that is the power of music!

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