News: Olivier Benoit Appointed New Artistic Director of the Orchestre National de Jazz

Olivier Benoit Photo credit Emmanuelle Vial
(courtesy of Citizenjazz.com)

French jazz has had its habemus papam moment in the past week. Guitarist Olivier Benoit has just been officially named as the successor to Daniel Yvinec as artistic director of the publicly-funded Orchestre National de Jazz with effect from January 1st 2014.

(Thank you Citizen Jazz for letting us take your story, here's the full version in French)

Whereas Yvinec - who had two stints as director by popular demand from within and outside the orchestra - had conceived the role as a facilitator, Benoit will be much more hands-on. He says "I will continue to be a musician within the group, and to pursue my activities as composer." He wants to increase the number of small ensembles emanating from within the ONJ. The organisation will also be launching its own record label.

In tandem with the appointment of Benoit, bassist Bruno Chevillon, will take on a new role of artistic advisor. The orchestra has completely re-recruited its personnel, and Chevillon was active in the selection process as well. The ONJ received 300 applications. Some of those not chosen as actual members will none the less be invited in on specific projects.

Benoit sees the de-compartmentalising of genres "le décloisonnement des genres" as key to his vision of what the orchestra should be,each member bringing to the orchestra his or her different and individual stylistic identity.

The new orchestra will be making its debut on February 1st in the Europa Paris concert series at Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, in the southern suburbs of Paris.

Musicians of the ONJ 2014-2017

OLIVIER BENOIT : Artistic director, guitar
BRUNO CHEVILLON :Artistic advisor, bass
ERIC ECHAMPARD :Drums
SOPHIE AGNEL : Piano
JOZEF DUMOULIN : Keyboards
THÉO CECCALDI : Violin, viola
FABRICE MARTINEZ : Trumpet, flugel. saxhorn
FIDEL FOURNEYRON : Trombone, euphonium
HUGUES MAYOT : Saxophones, clarinets
ALEXANDRA GRIMAL : Saxophones
JEAN DOUSTEYSSIER : Clarinets, tenor saxophone

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