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Alexandre Bloch, Orchestre national de Lille
© Ugo Ponte / ONL

The Orchestre National de Lille tour to the United Kingdom

After visiting Romania in September, the Orchestre National de Lille is now touring five cities in the United Kingdom. It represents a opportunity for artistic, diplomatic and economic dialogue, right in the middle of Brexit. 

Updated on 16/01/2020

2 min

Since the arrival of their new musical director Alexandre Bloch in 2016, the Orchestre National de Lille has transformed itself: new consoles to welcome a new generation of musicians, opening up the orchestra to original projects, emphasis on youth and new technology - concerts connected with smartphones and Star Wars cinema-concerts, for example - as well as a more extensive opening up to international audiences. In September 2019, the Orchestre National de Lille flew to Bucharest for the George Enescu Festival; next July it will play in Amsterdam at the invitation of Concertgebouw.

Between these two dates, on 31 January, the day when the United Kingdom will definitively leave the European Union, the Orchestre National de Lille will give one of five concerts on its British tour, planned for 28 January to 1 February in Birmingham, London, Newcastle, Sheffield and Leeds. A tour that was the obvious choice for Alexandre Bloch, who started his career in London as  Assistant Conductor of the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra in 2012, where he made his debut just after winning the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition.

The programme's French and German works

In the United Kingdom, the orchestra from Lille will focus on French music with two works by Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose), a suite of five pieces originally composed for piano then orchestrated by the composer himself in 1911, and La Valse (The Waltz), a choreographic poem written after the First World War. Another great French composer from this period will be honoured: Claude Debussy, with his Iberia created in 1910 in Paris, a work with marked Spanish influences as much as in its title as the music itself, and La Mer (The Sea), a true orchestral masterpiece and without doubt one of the best-known of Debussy's works.

The orchestra will also be celebrating the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven by playing, with Éric Lu on piano, his Concerto for Piano No 4 - a work which seems to announce the 9th Symphony in its final movement, and his famous Ode to Joy, which has since become the anthem of the European Union.

Besides being a vehicle to share artistic endeavours, the tour will also be an occasion to strengthen ties between the Hauts-de-France region and its British neighbour, particularly with regard to the economic situation. The Orchestre National de Lille will be accompanied by a delegation comprising The Orchestre National de Lille will be accompanied by a delegation comprising entrepreneurs and et regional economic playeurs, led by the Hauts-de-France Région and Lille Métropole Européenne, in partnership with the Mission attractivité Hauts-de-France and Lille's Agency.

The Institut français and the project

The Orchestre national de Lille Tour is supported by the Institut français in partnership with the Hauts-de-France Région and Lille Métropole européenne.

L’Institut français s’associe aux collectivités territoriales pour le développement des échanges artistiques internationaux. En savoir + sur les programmes d'aide à projet en partenariat avec les collectivités territoriales

L'institut français, LAB