Bougie tapped for Paris tour

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Aaron Brand

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.”

Staff photo by Tanner Spend­ley

■ The Texarkana Sym­phony Orches­tra per­forms at the Perot Theatre in this file photo.

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