Ten classical music festivals at the start of the school year

As summer draws to a close, many music events promise a smooth transition into autumn and its frost. Here is a selection, not exhaustive but representative of the variety of genres, repertoires and territories.

Royaumont Festival

Music and dance invite you to the Abbey (and Foundation) of Royaumont, which offers festive and balanced menus every weekend. You can come to a specific event (the concert of Eva Zaïcik and the consort, the night of melodies and songs, the recital of Véronique Gens and the ensemble Les Surprises…) or be guided by curiosity and cross eras, musical genres and artistic disciplines. The Val-d’Oise will also host, from September 30th, the Pontoise Baroque Festival, co-produced with Royaumont, on October 8th, a concert by the dynamic ensemble Escadron volant de la Reine.

► Until October 3rd at Royaumont Abbey (95).

International Music Festival Besançon Franche-Comté

No competition for young conductors this year, but an appetizing program to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Besançon event. In addition to jazz and world music, classical music also thrives there in various formats: symphonic concert (with the great return of the fine Orchester philharmonique royal de Liège, among others), recital, oratorio, multi-chamber ensembles… We can also meet Alexandros Markeas, Composer in Residence , and listen to five of his tracks. Enjoy your lunch !

Photo Yves Petit

► From September 9th to 18th in Besançon (25).

Piano at the Jacobins

In the wonderful Cloister of the Jacobins, as well as in Altigone and the Halle aux Grains, parades are held for this 43rde Edition, pianists of different ages and styles, all fascinating: Christian Zacharias, Aline Piboule, Bertrand Chamayou, Marie Vermeulin, Stephen Hough, Nathalia Milstein, Nelson Goerner… We will listen intently at the opening concert (broadcast live on September at 8 p.m by France Musique), the young Yumeka Nakagawa, born in 2001 and already winner of the prestigious Clara Haskil competition in 2021. And because jazz has its place in this festival dedicated to the keyboard, we will also find Paul Lay and Baptiste Trotignon applaud.

The Jacobins

► From September 9th to 30th in Toulouse (31) and surroundings.

Just Classic Festival

Already five editions for this young festival dedicated to chamber music in all its forms. It’s not just about seeing excellent soloists make music together, but also about discussing with them before the concerts, attending their rehearsals and master classes and thus exploring the richness of the repertoire and its interpretation in good company. All audiences are welcome, from absolute novices to advanced music lovers, and the diverse program doesn’t forget families or school audiences.

► From September 14th to 25th in Troyes and various places in the Aube (10).


After coming pretty far in the last experimental season, Musica seems to be coming back at 40e Edition with sure values, celebrating in particular the music of Kaija Saariaho, born in 1952, guest of honor at the festival, and that of Georges Aperghis, born in 1945, whose ensemble Resonanz will create the oratorio migrants. However, we can continue to experience new adventures, like these “concerts for yourself”, held in secret places for very small audiences. And, a big first, the Strasbourg Festival will stop off in Nancy for its final weekend.

The Resonance Set.

The Resonance Set.

Photo by Jan Wilken

► From September 15th to October 2nd in Strasbourg (67) and Nancy (54).

Laon Festival

Since both the Molière Year and the founding of the Cité Internationale de la langue française are to be celebrated at the Château de Villers-Cotterêts, this 34the Edition of the Laon Festival has chosen to follow a literary and theatrical thread, with works that best combine notes with words. So we will move from the opera to a concert version (Iphigenia in Aulide, von Gluck) to songs and quartets with a voice that go through the sublime Stabat mater de Poulenc and the delicious Small solemn fair by Rossini. So many treasures served up by great artists.

► From September 15th to October 16th in Aisne (02).

Ambronay Festival

Let’s be honest about what intrigues us most about this 43e edition, it is the first oratorio, The passion of Gesu, composed by and created by the talented chef Leonardo García Alarcón on Friday September 23rd. But there are many other reasons to visit Ambronay Abbey: concerts of various formats offered by stunning ensembles, singers and baroque conductors, shows for families, escapes to other music and aesthetics… As every year, the most difficult part will be the be choice.

► From September 16th to October 9th in Ambronay (01).

About Aeterna

Organized in ten communes in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel (with Cancale as a newcomer), the Via Aeterna festival quietly revolves around the “Wonder of the West”, with a rich program where music transcends centuries and borders and itself readily mixed with spirituality. We are slowly approaching Mont: the concerts on Sunday 16 October, the climax of the event, will take place in the Abbey Church, the Monks’ Refectory and the Knights’ Hall.

September 24, 2017: Ekaterinburg Philharmonic Choir, as part of the Via Aeterna festival.  Mont Saint Michel (50).

September 24, 2017: Ekaterinburg Philharmonic Choir, as part of the Via Aeterna festival. Mont Saint Michel (50).

CIRIC 2017

► From 1ah through October 16 in Channel (50).

autumn concerts

To forget about the fall of leaves and the shortening of the days, a trip to Tours is a must. As every year, several ensembles (Consonance, Jacques Moderne, Cappella Mediterranea, Divino Sospiro, Accademia Bizantina), instrumentalists and singers provide distraction. Before the concerts, almost all of which take place at the Grand Théâtre, gourmets will stop by pastry chef Nicolas Léger and bite into his “Autumn Concert” creation conceived for the festival.

► From October 7th to 16th in Tours (37).


Franz Liszt loved Berry, whom he loves back. The composer wanted to start a festival near Nohant and the home of his dear George Sand? His wish was granted in 2002 by the Lisztomanias Foundation. Under the title “Do you like Brahms and Liszt? », this 21e Edition seeks to decipher what brought these two contemporaries together and separated them without stopping at the comfortable juxtaposition of a visionary Liszt versus a conservative Brahms. At the service of this project, a very nice music poster including the Hermès quartet, the Aedes ensemble, Geoffroy Couteau, Tanguy de Williencourt…

Photo Lyodoh Kaneko

► From October 20th to 25th in Châteauroux (36).

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