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LAMOUREUX, Charles (1834-1899)

Founder of the concert series which bears his name, Lamoureux was famous in particular for introducing and popularising Wagner’s music in France. A native of Bordeaux, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he obtained a Premier Prix in violin (1854). To earn a living, he played at the Théâtre du Gymnase then at the Société des Jeunes Artistes founded by Pasdeloup. In 1853, he joined the orchestra at the Paris Opéra and, in 1863, that of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, where he became assistant conductor in 1872. Keen to put on large-scale choral works like those he had heard in England and Germany, Lamoureux founded the Société Française de l’Harmonie Sacrée (1873), an amateur chorale society with which he performed Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabeus as well asBach’s St Matthew Passion. When, for financial reasons, the society’s activities ground to a halt, Lamoureux joined the Opéra-Comique then the Paris Opéra before founding, in 1881, the Société des Nouveaux-Concerts (later known as the Concerts Lamoureux) at the Théâtre du Château d’Eau. Devoted to the promotion of new music and, in particular, the music of Wagner, these concerts came up against rival ventures by Pasdeloup and Colonne promoting Berlioz. After performing Wagner extracts in concert, Lamoureux went on to stage complete works: on 3 May 1887, he conducted Lohengrin at the Éden-Théâtre, with d’Indy as choirmaster. Despite being enthusiastically received by the public, a riot stirred up by the nationalists caused the conductor to cancel all forthcoming performances. Lamoureux took his revenge by conducting another performance of Lohengrin at the Paris Opéra (1891) as well as Tristan und Isolde at the Nouveau-Théâtre (1899). When he retired (1897), his son-in-law Camille Chevillard took over from him at the head of the Nouveaux Concerts.

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  • Charles Lamoureux
  • Charles Lamoureux
  • Lettre de Charles Lamoureux à Martin-Pierre Marsick (sd)
  • Les grands chefs d'orchestre wagnériens
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  • La direction d'orchestre
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  • CHEVILLARD, Marguerite