The Académie de musique française in Kyoto is now in its twenty-fifth year! This centre for franco-Japanese musical excellence invites the finest French soloists for an entire fortnight of masterclasses. Thanks to the vision of Chihiro Hayami, the harp has been a member of the programme since 2007. The harp has a particularly strong tradition of excellence in France. The country has been the seat of the development of the concert harp as we know it today. Fine instruments attract fine players, and fine players inspire fine composers. This is the cycle that has lead to so many French masterpieces in the harp repertoire, and so many world-class French soloists, and it is one we are very proud to have as part of our heritage.
We are also very proud to have been partners of the Kyoto Académie since the beginning of the harp's involvement. The 2015 Académie will take place from March 20th - April 1st, 2015, at the Insitut Français in Kyoto. The harp professor will be Ghislaine Petit-Volta, professor at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Paris, and also at the Pôle Supérieur d'Enseignement Artistique Boulogne-Billancourt.
Ghislaine Petit-Volta studied with Brigitte Sylvestre, Pierre Jamet, Gérard Devos and Christian Lardé at the Paris Conservatoire, where she obtained a harp First Prize in 1981, and a chamber music First in 1982. From the age of seventeen, she regularly played with the great orchestras of Paris and Northern Europe – the Berlin Philharmonic, the Paris Opera, the Radio France Philharmonic, the French National Orchestra, the Paris Orchestra, the Paris Orchestral Ensemble, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, etc. Alongside her orchestral playing, Ghislaine is particularly well-known for her new music work. She has given many world premieres, for example with the Ensemble Fa, Musique Oblique, Court Circuit, Festival de la Criée (Marseille/France) and Festival d'automne (Paris/France), and works with composers such as Claude Prey, Félix Ibarrondo, John Cage, Ton That Tiêt, Lindolfo Bicalho, Eyrick Abecassis, Fineberg, Favio Daiban and Jean Marc Singier.
Her recordings include a collection of twelth-century French song, ‘Trouvères à la cour de Champagne’, with the Venance Fortunat Ensemble on Harmonia Mundi, Pierre Vellones’s trios with harp on REM, and ‘Pli selon Pli’ (‘Fold by Fold’) by Pierre Boulez, under Boulez’s own direction on Deutsche Grammophon. Her most recent disc is a recital in hommage to Rameau, including her own transcription of Rameau's Pièces de clavecin (vol.1). The closing date for applications for the twenty-fifth Académie de musique française is January 31st, 2015.
You can apply online here (French) and here (Japanese). Many of the masterclasses are open to the public, and there will be a special concert by the best students on the course. You will also have the chance to here all the masterclass professors together in an additional concert, with a programme of masterpieces from the French chamber music literature. In special honour of the quarter-century of the competition, there will also be an additional series of lectures on contemporary music by M. Philippe Manoury.