History of the Rencontres

Jean-Guihen and Pierre-Olivier Queyras with Christine Busch

Jean-Guihen and Pierre-Olivier Queyras with Christine Busch

Music only makes sense when it is being shared and put forward by students who have not yet reached the heights of their careers.

It is thus naturally that young musicians living in Forcalquier, Pierre-Olivier and Jean-Guihen Queyras, together with their peers from the Conservatoires Supérieurs de Lyon (France) followed by those from Freiburg (Germany) have been brought to share the delight of musical moments.

That is how, in 1983 the « Journée Continue de Musique de Chambre » were born. This unique event offers free access to three to four hours of music, performed by world class musicians as well as students.

Towards the end of the 80s, Véronique Marin and Gesine Meyer-Eggen, respectively the spouses of Pierre-Olivier and Jean-Guihen and musicians themselves will take part and fully participate in the development, programming and artistic activity of the festival. From this moment, it is this famous “quartet” which will secure, throughout the whole year the artistic direction of the Rencontres.

The warmhearted atmosphere and the quality of the performance have lead to musicians and audience alike to call for a prolongation. Thus, from 1989 the Journée Continue has been followed by four concerts in different locations around Forcalquier. 

The title of “Rencontres Musicales” (eng. Musical encounters) has been given deliberately, destined to mark the fact that musicians, more and more engaged in a professional careers, come together for fifteen days, live and work together and offer the public concerts distinguished by their richness in program, the quality of interpretation and a warmhearted atmosphere like nowhere else. 

In 1996, the relationship between the musicians and the audience intensifies as it is decided to make the rehearsals public and open to all who wish to attend for free.

Today the reputation of the RMHP is out of question, they are appreciated and renowned by an international audience for the artistic quality of the programme and their atmosphere of simplicity and friendship which persisted throughout the years.  

The artists who inaugurated the first Journée Continue have long established themselves as soloists and chamber musicians of international reputation. They remain faithful to the RMHP to this day. Every year, to complement their team, they invite artists encountered along their individual career paths which contributes to the diversity in musicians present at the festival. 

The prioritised relationship between the musicians and their audience allows for a diverse programme ranging from baroque repertoire to contemporary music. Every single concert offers at least one contemporary piece often discussed by the musicians or the composers themselves beforehand. This introduces the often curious and enthusiastic audience to unchartered territory and an unknown universe and enables them to make new discoveries.

Marie-France and Jean -François QUEYRAS

Marie-France and Jean -François QUEYRAS

The Rencontres are supported by important figures of the world of music. They are financially supported by the municipality of Forcalquier, The Council of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, the regional council of PACA and other donors. 

The Rencontres Musicales were founded and developed under the guidance of their founders Marie-France and Jean-Francois Queyras.

They have now given way to a new team who strives to keep the festival going with the same goals and intentions as it has upheld since. 

The association of the Rencontres Musicales organises the entirety of the festival. The organisation relies on many volunteers to ensure the execution of the concerts. The Rencontres Musicales will always evolve but always in the same spirit of dialogue between the musicians and the audience and with the same goal of making music of high quality accessible to all.