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By rediscovering and interpreting early music repertoires, Canticum Novum forges links between the music of Western Europe and the repertoire of the Mediterranean basin, rich in the union of the Christian world and an East marked by a double Jewish and Moorish heritage. These programmes also reflect another of Canticum Novum's ambitions: to place the human adventure and interculturality at the heart of its projects and to constantly question identity, orality, transmission and memory. The works performed by Canticum Novum (a team of 3 to 15 musicians, depending on the configuration) allow us to rediscover the Mediterranean repertoires, as well as Afghan, Turkish, Persian, Arab, Sephardic, Armenian and Cypriot music. These musics, at the crossroads of cultures and artistic expressions, are surprisingly alive after 800 years of sharing, and bear witness to diversity, respect and tolerance.
Canticum Novum's programmes are as rich as they are diverse: Spain of the three cultures (Al-Basma and Paz, Salam & Shalom programmes) rubs shoulders with the Mediterranean basin (Laudario and Emzara programmes) and the Ottoman Empire (Aashenayi and Ararat programmes). At the same time, the ensemble offers two shows for the general public with dreamlike scenographies: Hayim Toledo 1267 (a musical tale for shadow theatre), and Tapanak (an extraordinary pictorial epic) created in 2019.
Canticum Novum was created by Emmanuel Bardon in 1996. After being hosted by the Opéra-Théâtre de Saint-Étienne from 2008 to 2012, the ensemble is currently in residence at the Ancienne École des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Étienne. Since 2009, Canticum Novum has been organising an annual festival of early music and world music in the Loire region, based on the meeting of peoples and cultures: the Festin Musical.
In addition, Canticum Novum gives more than forty concerts each year in France and abroad. The ensemble is regularly invited to major festivals such as the Festival de Radio France, La Folle Journée de Nantes, Tokyo and in the regions, the Festival Via Aeterna, the Festival d'Ambronay, the Festival Baroque de Pontoise, the Festival de Musique Sacrée de Perpignan, the Festival de Sylvanès, the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, the Estival de la Bâtie d'Urfé, the Festival Les Traversées de Noirlac, the Festival de Labeaume en Musiques or the Festival Baroque de Tarentaise... The ensemble has also performed at national theatres such as the Châtelet in Paris, Melun-Sénart, La Roche-sur-Yon, Montélimar, Cherbourg, the Opéra de Lille and Clermont-Ferrand. For the past ten years, Canticum Novum has also been involved in numerous educational activities aimed at raising awareness of early music repertoires among young audiences, and works closely with various organisations such as the Centre Culturel de Rencontre de Noirlac and La Mégisserie de Saint-Junien.
Alongside the ensemble, the Ambronay label has released five discs by Canticum Novum: Paz, Salam & Shalom in 2011, Aashenayi in 2015, Ararat in 2017, Laudario in 2019 and Al-Basma in 2021.