The new festival will be centered in the 1400 seat Grand Théâtre de Provence which opened in 2007. The festival, says the debut press release, will feature 15 concerts. Centered around the Easter holidays, it hopes to copy the success of the Salzburg Easter Festival, founded in 1966 by conductor Herbert von Karajan as a supplement to the celebrated Salzburg summer festival founded in 1920.
Like the two festivals in Salzburg, the Aix Easter festival will be under separate management. The new festival will be under the artistic guidance of internationally-acclaimed French violinist Renaud Capuçon, 35, and will be managed by Dominique Bluzet, the Grand Théâtre's director, who also manages the intimate 18th Century Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in the same town.
Bluzet is also vice-president of the Marseilles Chamber of Commerce. The Mediterranean port city, France's second largest, is a 30 minute drive from Aix-en-Provence and has been designated as a "European Cultural Capitol."
The summer festival at Aix-en-Provence, founded in 1948 is a major destination for music lovers. A recent four-year residency of the Berlin Philharmonic featured Wagner's Ring Cycle and the London Symphony is currently in residence at the July summer festival.
Details about the Easter offerings at Aix are expected in the coming year. The new festival will likely attract an international audience by inviting top orchestras and famed soloists. Chamber music, youth orchestras and the commissioning of new works are also on the drawing board.