Bougie tapped for Paris tour
It will be Bruckner’s “Te Deum” in Paris for Marc-André Bougie in 2020.
Bougie, music director and conductor for the Texarkana Regional Chorale and associate professor of music at Texarkana College, will participate in a music and cultural tour to the historic “City of Light” June 5 t0 14. He will perform as guest conductor with the Symphonique Bel’Arte de Paris and world-class soloists.
This continues Bougie’s tradition of performing in distant locations ike New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Italy and South America. A company that organizes such visits asked him if he’d like to conduct in Europe and he was offered several choices. He chose Paris over the others because it is “the land of my ancestors,” said Bougie, a FrenchCanadian.
In choosing Paris, Bougie saw an opportunity to go to a music center of the world, a place where he could attract choirs to participate. Those choirs will include members of the TRC, which he leads.
“You can just park yourself there for a week or two, and you’ll never run out of things to do,” Bougie said.
Almost two years ahead, he’s planning right now.
“I suggested the Bruckner’s ‘Te Deum,’ which is a massive Romantic era piece of symphonic choral music,” Bougie said. It’s one of Bruckner’s dozens of massive pieces, he said, and although the TRC hasn’t performed it, they recently did his “Ave Maria.”
“With this kind of timeline, I thought we can tackle this thing, ” Bougie said.
He’s inviting a number of groups to join him, such as the TRC, along
with several others from the region and across the country. He also is sending invitation to other countries, including France. Invitations have been sent to about 35 or 40 choirs, he said.
“The Chorale will be a featured group in that concert,” Bougie said, noting that at Carnegie Hall there were more than 150 singers on the stage—TRC members and singers from other choirs. “Which is a massive group,” he said. “These are projects you can’t do every year.”
But people are itching for something special every couple of years, he said, and they like to go on these tours. And it won’t be just one concert in Paris. It will be three.
At the first concert, other conductors will join Bougie in conducting a massive work like the “Te Deum.”
“Then two days later, the hundreds of singers gathered together for this festival sing in a massive masterworks under the conducting of the general director of that company. And then over the weekend all of the choirs are offered a chance to perform a solo concert in another church,” Bougie said.
There are many standards in the choir-group repertoire. But for an event like this, more is required, he said.
“But if you’re going to go to Paris for two weeks, you need to do something that’s beyond the standard, and the Bruckner’s ‘Te Deum’ is one of those pieces,” Bougie said. He could not recall anyone in the region attempting this piece, one of the great choral music accomplishments, since he’s been here.
“Of course we’ll be performing that piece in Texarkana a month or two before we leave, so people see what we’re doing,” Bougie said.
It’s yet another accomplishment for Bougie and his TRC singers to anticipate.
“We’re going to build up that excitement until it’s time to let it out,” Bougie said.
And in Paris, it’s beyond a special place in music history.
“It’s one of the great cities of music, with Vienna,” Bougie said.
Many of the greatest performers had to go through Paris to make it, the conductor said.
“It’s a musical trip,” Bougie said, promising a “thorough cross-cultural experience.” It’s where composers like Berlioz and Chopin were buried. Napoleon’s tomb is there.
“You walk in the footsteps of giants of music history and otherwise,” he said. “That’s not very hard to sell. You feel like you’re part of something.”
■ The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra performs at the Perot Theatre in this file photo.