La Tempête

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France's La Tempête has attempted to redefine the classical music concert, immersing audiences in the spirit of the work through staging techniques.
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French vocal and instrumental ensemble La Tempête has attempted to present classical music in a new way, through staging and collaborations that immerse audiences in the spirit of a work. La Tempête was founded in 2015 by Simon-Pierre Bestion, whose background was in early music: he studied organ and harpsichord at the Conservatoire de Nantes and has played continuo with the early music vocal group Les Cris de Paris. Becoming interested in choral repertory, he studied in Nantes with Valérie Fayet and also took classes in choral conducting at the Lyon Conservatory of Music and Dance. Bestion and gambist Julie Dessaint founded the Europa Barrocca chamber ensemble in 2007, and Bestion then founded the choir Luce del Canto. These two groups were merged to form La Tempête in 2015. The group's composition was thus diverse from the beginning, and Bestion intensified this trend as the ensemble developed, striving to attract performers of different backgrounds and, in his own words, "to explore musical pieces while imbuing a really personal and incarnate engagement, similar to the current approaches in performing arts." La Tempête has collaborated with artists in the fields of electro-acoustic music, theater, dance, lights, and video. The group has attracted substantial French government and private support from the Fondation Orange, the Mécénat Musical Sociéte Générale, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Department of Corrèze, and the town of Brive-la-Gaillarde. La Tempête has released three albums on France's Alpha label, The Tempest (2015), including English Renaissance music associated with the Shakespeare play, Azahar (2017), featuring music by Machaut and Stravinsky as well as excerpts from the Cantigas de Santa Maria corpus of monophonic song, and Larmes de Résurrection (2018), an album of music by Heinrich Schütz and Johann Hermann Schein. The group's performing repertoire has stretched from traditional music to contemporary works.