Classical Music in the South of France . . . a great break from business

yv-july-2013-300No more “business” posts from me for a while (I can hear the cheering!).

For the next two weeks I will be helping my wife run and manage the 6th Annual Festival de Musique de la Vallée du Cougain in the South of France.

The Festival was really her brain child from the beginning and as Executive Director she has almost single handedly built it from a couple of evening recitals in one small village to this year’s festival with 6 concerts in six different villages and towns over an eight day period.

And through persuasion combined with infectious passion, she now has the six village mayors doing most of the work, gathering sponsors, housing musicians, and converting small Medieval stone churches into concert venues. My job is “chief gofer” (go for this, go for that), taxi, barbecue chef, and I do all this without trying to get in the way of her whirlwind activities.

Young Virtuosi

This year her UK registered music charity, Young Virtuosi, is bringing a dozen young (aged 14-26) up-and-coming musicians from England, Holland, Germany, Japan, Israel and a few other places into the tiny village of Castelreng, just south of the famous Medieval cité of Carcassonne.


The festival starts at 9pm in the small village of La Digne d’Amont, just a few miles west of Limoux, on July 14th with music from Mozart, Poulenc, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The 15th they will be playing in the village of Saint-Couat du Razès, then on the 16th in the Èglise de l’Assomption in the town of Limoux, next on the 17th in the village church of Ajac, and continuing on the 18th in the village church of La Digne d’Aval.  With one evening off, the festival culminates on Sunday with a gala concert in the church of our host village, Castelreng. And there is no repeat music! Six different venues, six different concerts of trios, quartets, solos and sonatas.

If you have never been to the south of France or heard classical music played with passion in small stone, candlelit Medieval churches, then hop on a plan or train and come the festival.  You will be delighted you did. And if you have been to France, then come again for this special musical feast. And there is a sparking wine party after every concert!

If you are curious, you can download the 2013 Festival pdf Programe here.

And if you can’t attend, but would like a professional recording of the festival, and also if you have the urge to help with a donation to sponsor these fine young musicians for this week, please let us know at You can also donate easily through the Young Virtuosi website.

So, I will be running hard, enjoying the music, and having my share of the famous sparking wine of Limoux.

Here’s another small taster of last year’s concert.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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5 Responses to Classical Music in the South of France . . . a great break from business

  1. What amazing talent these young musicians have!


  2. Raunak says:

    This is so inspiring. Its extra special to see young musicians play the classical genre. Feel great when such concerts happen in India as well. Would love to someday witness Western Classical music in such a beautiful setting.


  3. Michael McNally says:


    By this time you’re probably beginning to breathe a little easier – with a bit less than two hours to go before the fesival begins, most of the details are likely well in hand. On the other hand, a gofer’s work is never done! :))

    Enjoy! And, I’d love an ocassional report about the festival’s progress as the days fly by for you and Christiane. Congratulations to her from us, Okay!?


    Michael J. McNally

    Aivia Corporation Strategic Leadership and Culture Development

    office: 541.343.0226 mobile: 541.543.5431 e-mail: skype: aivia1


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