The creation of the Fondation Les Arts Florissants – William Christie is the culmination of several years’ endeavor to establish a permanent institution to perpetuate the life’s work of William Christie and Les Arts Florissants in the fields of baroque music and the art of gardens.
The Foundation is unique in the French cultural landscape, uniting as it does an international musical ensemble with a heritage site (William Christie’s Thiré estate, in the Vendée, which became a “Centre Culturel de Rencontre” in 2017). It is also the only organization of its type to enjoy the status of a foundation under French law. This new legal entity will take over all the activities of Les Arts Florissants, not only artistically and pedagogically, but also with respect to the preservation and management of the Foundation’s material and immaterial heritage — the buildings and gardens in Thiré as well as the recordings and publications of Les Arts Florissants. The granting of “public-uti- lity” foundation status by the government is, moreover, an active vote of confidence on the part of the French state.
Far more than a simple change in administrative status, the Foundation is a new adventure to ensure the long-term, coherent continuation of William Christie and Les Arts Florissants’ work.
"Almost 40 years ago a group of friends and I founded Les Arts Florissants, the ensemble that has allowed me to rediscover the magnificent repertoire of the baroque age and perform it in all of the world’s most prestigious halls. At the same time, in the Vendée, I have accomplished another of my dreams: creating a unique and original garden around my 17th-century manor house, which is now the setting each year for the festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie, where we welcome music lovers from all over the world.
“Encouraged by these years of success, I now feel it is time to put Les Arts Florissants on a firm footing for the future. For this reason, the creation of a foundation, recognized by the French government as being of “public utility,” was fundamental. And to make it possible, I have decided to gift all my properties, including my house and gardens, to the Foundation Les Arts Florissants – William Christie.
“This project is the realization of the dream of a lifetime. A dream of music and gardens, but also of the handing on of savoir-faire and passion to future generations of artists and audiences. It is here that all my desires converge and that everything begins. This is the start of a great adventure!”
If you wish to contribute to the creation of this foundation, Les Arts Florissants are currently looking for major donors.