The Paris Conservatoire / Twinned with the Juilliard School in New York as part of the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation’s Franco-American exchange program.
That the Paris Conservatoire, founded in 1795, was a product of the French Revolution is a historical fact. But did that make it revolutionary? Despite its institutional character, the Paris Conservatoire – often referred to in France by the abbreviation CNSM – certainly did take music away from court circles, making it an educational subject guided by musicians whose names have gone down in history: from Cherubini to Fauré, the place was undoubtedly in good hands. The professors of music at the Conservatoire have been as prestigious as its directors: Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, Darius Milhaud, Olivier Messiaen, to name just some. In short, the CNSM has cultivated a French style which is the envy of the world. It has also hosted memorable series of master classes (by such as Mstislav Rostropovitch, Yehudi Menuhin or Zubin Mehta). The Conservatoire sometimes carries an additional ‘D’ – for Dance – in the longer abbreviation, CNSMDP, by which it is also known, since it includes a college of ballet and dance. On the musical side, it is about much more than just instrumental and singing tuition: the curricula include composition, harmony, sound engineering, new technologies and jazz.
As part of a scheme conceived by former president François Mitterrand, the Conservatoire moved from its historic home in Rue de Madrid to the recently regenerated district of La Villette, where it is now part of the vast new “City of Music” designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc. It is worth pointing out that no less than 18% of the students come from outside France, from 41 different countries, confirming the international attractiveness of the Conservatoire.