La Chambre aux échos is the only music theatre company in France led by both a director and a conductor. From the inception of a project to its premiere, each step and artistic move is the result of discussion: in the pair, each brings his own experience of his field, to come up with a shared artistic expression that is both coherent and innovative. This collaborative scheme is based on a somewhat underestimated tradition of music theatre that puts forward, first and foremost, the act of serving together –ultimately also with a larger pool of craftspeople and specialists– the committed vision of a total art
His two-fold training in theatre and philosophy took him from the Université de Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris to the Theatre Faculty of Prague, and the Université de Nanterre. This training was also enriched by his experiences as an assistant to directors Sarah Méadeb and Peter Sellars, as a dramaturge with the company T&M-Paris, and as a dramaturge and scenographer for the company Image Auditive.
Together with La Chambre aux échos, Aleksi Barrière has been developing for over ten years a theatre whose forms are being created in the encounter of artists, in the friction of materials, and in the moving interfaces between media. From a contemporary music one-woman-show (Give Me A Few Words, 2017) to chamber operas (Tu ne dois pas garder la nuit en toi, 2013; La Passion de Simone, 2013; La Guerre, Très Loin, 2015) or operas without singers (Graal Théâtre, 2018; Violences, 2019) and multimedia fantasmagorias (Between, 2022), the company’s work has been presented in various theatres, opera houses, festivals and concert halls in France, Europe, the US and Japan. These performances are characterized among others by the creation or rediscovery of textual and musical material, and the organization of events and debates that expand the artistic experience.
Aleksi Barrière also works on a regular basis outside from the constellation of La Chambre aux échos’s collaborators as a guest stage director. He has thus devised performances for the Grimeborn Festival (2011), Paris Music and Dance Conservatory (2013), the READ Festival in Helsinki (2014), the Trap Door Theatre in Chicago (2018), the Staatsoper in Hamburg (2018), the Silence Festival in Finland (2018), the Autunnale in Bergen (2018) and the Nordlyd Festival in Oslo (2019). His staging of Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (2022), created with a Euro-Japanese team, was credited for “giving a new life to this opera”.
As a writer too, Aleksi Barrière is most drawn to collaborative processes, and his texts, when they are not central to his performances, have been set to music by composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Diana Syrse, Juha T. Koskinen and Clément Mao-Takacs. His texts about art have been commissioned for various media, in academic contexts and for exhibition catalogues, program booklets (including by the Paris Opera) and liner notes to recordings.
Upcoming highlights include his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, 2021, his debut with the San Francisco Opera and his return to Finland with Finnish National Opera and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.
Clément recently conducted Saariaho’s Aile du songe pairing the concerto with Haydn and Mendelssohn in his debut at the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Orchestre de Paris. He made his debut with the Stavanger Symphony with a programme of works by Saariaho and Wagner and conducted the Odense Symphony Orchestra as well as the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.
An integral part of his artistic life is the Paris based Secession Orchestra he founded in 2011, of which he is both Artistic and Musical Director. Taking the ideals of the Viennese Secession movement as the starting point, the repertoire encompasses music from Mahler, Bartók and Debussy through rarely performed scores to contemporary music. They give over 50 concerts each year including residencies at venues such as the Musée du Louvre, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Festival de Saint-Denis. He also created and is Artistic Director of the festivals INTERVALLES in Paris and TERRAQUÉ in Carnac, Brittany.
With stage director Aleksi Barrière he founded and leads the collective La Chambre aux échos, working on musical theatre and chamber opera. For their upcoming project they will join forces with the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki producing ‘Between’ with works by Saariaho, and two world premieres by Vestergard and Hilli.
As a guest conductor, he has been invited to give concerts by Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Odense Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Festival Orchestra of Sofia, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra Finland, and Bit 20 Bergen.
A specialist of Kaija Saariaho’s music, he has conducted the world premiere and several national premieres of the chamber version of her opera La Passion de Simone, including performances in Bratislava, Saint- Denis, Lublin, Clermont-Ferrand, Copenhagen, Bergen and Nantes. Further Saariaho credits include the world premiere of the chamber version of Quatre Instants which is also dedicated to him, the Danish premiere of the concerto Notes on Light(with cellist Jakob Kullberg), and regularly performs numerous works from her catalogue. 2019 saw the release of a CD of her works for violin and orchestra on BIS Records with the Oslo Philharmonic and soloist Peter Herresthal. Lauded for its expressivity and virtuosity and nominated for a Spellemann Award, it was BBC Music Magazine’s Concerto Choice and “could scarcely be bettered” (Gramophone). It has now also been shortlisted for the 2021 Grammy awards.
Clément Mao-Takacs’s further recordings include Stockhausen’s Adieu for Crystal Classics, a disc of Jacques Ibert’s music for Timpani (awarded ‘5 diapasons’ by DIAPASON magazine) and Debussy “Fantaisie for piano and orchestra“ with the Secession Orchestra (Mirare). Upcoming releases include music by Stravinsky, Saariaho and Berg.
He graduated from the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and the Accademia Chigiana in Sienna, and was awarded the Prix « Jeune Talent » by the Fondation del Duca (Institut de France / Académie des Beaux-Arts).