"The composers working in Paris in the first half of the twentieth century were responding musically to a series of seismic cultural, social and political changes. For me, the music of this period has a very special artistic significance: I hope that you will join us to hear the music of Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen and their compatriots, contextualised by the influence of the artists, writers and thinkers that inspired them."

The first half of the 20th century was one of the most troubled period of France’s history. But despite the devastation of two world wars and the unrest caused by a social revolution, Paris nurtured a creative diversity that heralded a new musical universe.

This steady but radical musical revolution was initiated by Debussy, and during the following 50 years Paris became the thriving centre for various musical influxes - both from the East with the Ballets Russes and the West with American Jazz.

Bringing together Maestro Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra and outstanding soloists we hope to further the understanding of this extraordinary moment in musical history whose profound, often subversive influence provides the key to enjoying the musical language of our time.

Vincent Meyer, President, Philharmonia Orchestra

From La Belle Époque and Les Années Folles to the aftermath of World War II, Paris was a melting pot for new music and new artistic ideas. Leading writers, artists and dancers of the age were drawn to the City of Light, collaborating with some of the best-loved composers to create sumptuous orchestral music in a celebration of sheer luxuriance of sound. Esa-Pekka Salonen leads a major series of events exploring the cultural history of Paris between 1900 and 1950, the follow-up to his acclaimed Vienna series, City of Dreams.

Caroline Potter and Caroline Rae
Series Consultants, City of Light: Paris 1900-1950

The Philharmonia Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the support of the following partner institutions for their generous assistance in making this series possible:

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Cardiff University, Le Dôme, Montparnasse, Institut français, Lebrecht Photo Library, Mairie de Paris, Maison Natale de Claude Debussy, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Musée Maurice Ravel, Montfort-l’Amaury, Musée de la Musique, Cité de la Musique, Royal College of Music, Le Sénat, République Française, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Ville de Montfort-l’Amaury, Ville de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

With special thanks to the following individuals for their work on the films and resources that sit at the heart of the CITY OF LIGHT project:

Samuel Coles, Rémi Copin, Thierry Courrier, Elizabeth Giuliani, Valérie Hartmann-Claverie, Christine Jolivet-Erlih, Francis Lepigeon, Thierry Maniguet, Vincent Meyer, Claude Moreau, Sarah Nemtanu, Caroline Potter, Laurent Quartier, Caroline Rae, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marie-Gabrielle Soret, Stéphane Vaiedelich, Agnès Virole, Eric de Visscher, Guy Wigmore

This website is brought to you by the in-house Digital team at the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, and launched on 24 September 2014.

It has been developed as part of City of Light: 1900-1950, a major artistic project by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, which runs from November 2014-May 2015 in the UK and Europe. City of Light, which involves orchestral concerts, opera performances, chamber music, study days, new documentary films, newly commissioned essays and online resources, was conceived and is supported by Vincent Meyer, President of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Film, Photography & Street Notes - Marina Vidor, Digital Producer & Jessie Rodger, Digital Assistant

Director of Photography - Guy Wigmore

Content Management - Sam Delves, Digital Department Trainee 2014

Website design and build - Douglas Robertson, Developer

Series Designer - Ned Campbell

Special thanks also to Series Consultants Caroline Potter and Caroline Rae, for supplying additional content - in particular with regards to the Timeline, and the interactive map.

All content, website design and architecture Copyright © 2014, Philharmonia Orchestra - unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved