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The BNP Paribas Foundation is celebrating the arrival of spring with the jazz festivals it supports in France and abroad. Here’s a look at three key festivals this year.

Festival Variations 

The BNP Paribas Foundation’s biggest jazz partner, the Festival Variations returns to Nantes for the third time from 23 to 30 April, 2019. It takes place in several unusual venues, from the cathedral to the former Lu biscuit factory, Le Lieu Unique, co-organiser of the festival. 

The name Variations reflects the event’s diversity: jazz, classical, electronic, improvised, traditional and experimental music. The well-balanced programme features jazz pianists Yaron Herman and Nitai Hershkowits. In addition, choreographer Pierre Rigal will present Suite absentes, choreography to a player piano playing music by Jean-Sébastien Bach. The performance was created and premiered at the Piano aux Jacobins festival in 2017.

Festival Jazz in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris

The unmissable Paris festival runs from 16 to 27 May, 2019. Legendary venues in the 6th arrondissement will host jazz stars such as Richard Galliano, Biréli Lagrène and Rymden as well as exciting French artists like Kellylee Evans, Marion Rampal and Sacre du Tympan. They’ll perform at prestigious places including the Richelieu amphitheatre at the Sorbonne, the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe and the “grand amphitheatre”at Assas. In addition to concerts, musicians and audiences can meet each other during the festival at “Jazz ‘n’ Chat” sessions.

Mathilde Favre, jazz project officer at the BNP Paribas Foundation, will be part of the "Young talents competition" jury this year. One of the prizes is a €2,000 Foundation grant to help the recipients become more professional. “Young Talents is an essential springboard for spotting and supporting young jazz musicians,” says Jean-Jacques Goron, Managing Director of BNP Paribas Foundation. “The BNP Paribas Foundation is glad to give the winners financial support.” This commitment reflects BNP Paribas Foundation’s desire to promote jazz in all its diversity.

Festival Jazz sous les Pommiers [Jazz under the Apple Trees Festival] in Coutances

From 24 May to 1 June 2019, the 38th Jazz sous les Pommiers festival will take place in Coutances with an eclectic programme ranging from Dixieland jazz to electronic music. This year, the BNP Paribas Foundation is the main patron for the first time! 

Since 2015, the Foundation has backed drummer and composer Anne Paceo, artist-in-residence at the Coutances municipal theatre for three years, who will perform two of her works at the event. Other artists, including saxophonist Pierrick Pédron, Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Mélusine quintet, are also on the wonderful programme. Mélusine is one of the groups that won the 2018 Jazz Migration competition, which offers each victor a year-long tour. The programme also includes a screening of the Moutin brothers’ documentary Mississippi Dreaming at the Coutances cinema. In 2018, the BNP Paribas Foundation funded the film and its two directors, who are also musicians known under the name Moutin Factory and who will perform at the festival as well.

"En coulisses"

For the first time, the BNP Paribas Foundation presents… "En coulisses". On this occasion, you will discover live interviews during the festivals! Don’t miss it, and follow our Instagram account.

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Photos:  Header - Festival Variations ©Nicolas Joubard //  
©evgeniykleymenov

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