Student Blog: Classical and electronic at the Paris Philharmonic

June 3, 2019

barefoot dancer reaching arms out wearing gray flannel shirt and blue jeans in front of green bushes

Evan Sagadencky in Jardin des Tuileries | Photo by Jackie Kopcsak

Week two in Paris was full of walking and art! On Monday, we explored Sacre Coeur and discussed the importance of Montmartre as a space for contemporary artists. We spent Tuesday at the Musée d’Orsay, in awe of works by impressionist artists like Degas. Wednesday began with a tour through the Opéra Garnier. On our tour, we saw the next opera set being built and walked through the levels deep underneath the stage.

After many days of passing by the Louvre, we finally visited on Thursday. Due to the museum’s size, we traveled in two groups. Professor Jackie Kopcsak’s vast knowledge of art history helped answer all of our questions. Then we were free to roam the endless halls on our own. After such a busy week, we had a three day weekend, giving us a chance to rest up for our final week in Paris! Check out Evan Sagadencky’s student blog below for his thoughts on our night at Philharmonie de Paris at Cité de la Musique, experiencing a techno music exhibit and philharmonic concert.

Converging genres: a classically electronic evening

At the Philharmonie de Paris, I went to a pop-up exhibit titled “Electro” that took an in-depth look at the evolution of electronic music, internationally. This exhibit included interactive exhibits, films, text and photography/videography. The moments that did not include dance truly interested me (although I admired how inclusive this exhibit was for dance). Specifically, I found interest in the historical and visual elements of electronic music. Being in Paris, I have been able to experience many mediums other than my own. In that, I find that I am cultivating my voice as a human being. This voice inherently influences my artistry, as opposed to exclusively immersing myself in dance.

My night included a particularly interesting contrast. Preceding the electronic journey, I saw the Philharmonic perform alongside four different choirs: the Notre Dame, Radio France, Children’s and French Army choirs. These four converging choirs amplified and personified that quality and effort that the orchestra below them had conveyed throughout the evening.

Subverting artistic hierarchy

This evening of experiencing two very different genres of music made me feel very lucky, for a number of reasons. First, I absolutely adored the way the Philharmonie de Paris threw the notion of high and low art out the window. They gave the electronic music and the classical music equal appreciation. Second, I appreciated that I could step out of the metaphorical “bubble” of dance. I could just enjoy another craft for what it was. I was able to feel anything I pleased, and this agency made me excited to make others feel this way through my own art.

Introduction by Lillie Pincus and student blog by Evan Sagadencky