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Music: a ferment of dialogue

Sandra Moubarak et Anthony LeroySaint-Riquier – Somme Bay artistic co-directors Sandra Moubarak (pianist) and Anthony Leroy (cellist) form a duo of world renown.  Their life-long experience of the world of music has taught them a valuable lesson: that dialogue is a necessary prerequisite for the development of the mind and for understanding the world that surrounds us.

“Saint-Riquier is a crossroads where great artistic minds meet, whether they be musicians, actors, painters or scientists, infusing the festival with a very special spirit.

Just like the Academies of the Renaissance, where scholars, writers and musicians rubbed shoulders, our aspiration for the Festival is that it be a meeting place for the arts and knowledge, where artists, audiences and speakers exchange. This year’s audiences will feast on the knowledge of astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet and mathematician Jean-François Colonna; we musicians need to hear what these masters of other disciplines have to tell us.

The 2012 festival programming is stitched together by two thematic threads. Since 2011, Picardy has been honoring Alfred Manessier (1911-1993), an emblematic painter of this region of France, who was born right here, in the Somme. The Saint-Riquier – Somme Bay Festival will join in paying homage, in its own way, to an artist whose life embodied Picardy: he magnified the unique, luminous landscapes of the Somme Bay. As he once said, “I see that light. I expand, I relax.”

Through concert performances, it is up to us as artists to “make that light heard”: the second thread and this year’s theme at the Saint-Riquier – Somme Bay Abbey’s Centre Culturel de Rencontre, and one which blends so perfectly with Manessier’s aesthetic.

Finally, we’ve strived to ensure the Festival is open to all audiences, and is free of any sense of stuffiness or elitism. The Festival will be held in the truest spirit of cheerful camaraderie and good-spirited enjoyment, with this year’s July 14 Grand Ball rhythmed by the sounds of a salsa orchestra. Here at Saint-Riquier, all music is part of a close-knit family: classical music lives harmoniously alongside jazz and Latin American sounds. The greatest artists will be on hand, to our great delight, as the Festival is an ambassador for the Somme: a department for which we have an undying love.”

Sandra Moubarak, Anthony Leroy