Music at Notre-Dame
From the earliest times, music has been an integral part of the life of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. While the pointed arches of the new gothic style rose up to the heavens to form the chancel, the new Notre Dame Choir School, with its magnificent polyphony, was born. The voices of the choristers responded in virtuosity to that of the builders. Since that time, the musical tradition at Notre Dame has been upheld to the highest degree and each generation in turn, has added a stone to the prestigious edifice, which is that of the Cathedral’s musical history. Perfectly aware of the centuries’ old inheritance, of the influence of its activities both at home and abroad, and the high quality of musical education provided by the Maîtrise Notre Dame de Paris, the State, the City of Paris and the Parisian Diocesan Association decided together in 1991 to found the association of Sacred music at Notre Dame de Paris.
Responsible for the coordination at both administrative and artistic levels of all musical activities in the Cathedral, Musique Sacrée at Notre Dame de Paris has, first and foremost, the task of teaching music, training singers, organizing the musical accompaniment of the liturgy in the Cathedral, proposing concerts and recitals and of carrying out research into the rich musical inheritance of Notre Dame. It also plays an important role in the creation of new musical works and in their circulation.
Important vocal and instrumental arrangements have been put in place to facilitate all of these projects. The first and central element is the Choir School of Notre Dame (Maîtrise) composed of divers elements (Children’s Choir, Young Ensemble, Adult Choir of those undergoing professional training and the Gregorian Ensemble). The great organ, the choir organ and their titular organists are also most important protagonists.
The concert season, organ recitals on Sunday afternoons, the performance given, each year, of about fifty choirs from all over the world, as well as the presence, each day of those musicians attached to Notre Dame, show a high degree of musical excellence in keeping with the exceptional vocation of this unique place