Classical Music in the South of France

If music be the food of love, play on!  ~William Shakespeare

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

YV in the field

For the next two weeks I will be helping my wife run and manage the 7th Annual Festival de Musique de la Vallée du Cougain in the South of France.

The Festival is her brain child 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 local village mayors doing most of the work, gathering sponsors, organising meals and transportation, 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 ten young up-and-coming musicians (aged 14-26) from England, Portugal, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and a few other places to the tiny village of Castelreng, just 20 km south of the famous Medieval Cité of Carcassonne.


The festival starts at 9pm in the small village of La Digne d’Amont on July 16th with music from Mozart, Schubert and Brahms. The next day, July, 17th they will be playing in the Èglise de l’Assomption in the town of Limoux, then on the 18th in the small Medieval church of Saint-Couat du Razes.  After a day’s rest, the festival resumes on July 20th in the village church of La Digne d’Aval. Then it is on to the village of Ajac on the 21th July, culminating in the final Gala Concert in the church of Castelreng on 22nd July.

And there is no repeat music! Six different venues, six different concerts of trios, quartets, solos and sonatas. The musicians will be playing pieces from Prokofiev, Debussy, Berstein, Shostakovich, Kodaly, Salonen, Tchaikovsy, Ravel,Lovreglio, Biber, Teleman, Hayden, Boccherini, Janacek, Dvorak, and a special piece composed by Ikuyo Kobayashi, one of the young musicians from Young Virtuosi.

If you have never been to the south of France or heard classical music played with passionProvence-Ansouis-The-altar-of-the-medieval-church-of-Ansouis-in-South-France in small, candlelit Medieval churches, then hop on a plan or train and come the festival.  You will be delighted and moved. 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 2014 Festival Program 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,  Blanquette du Limoux.

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

Come to France and celebrate with us!

John R. ChildressN2Growth: President, Europe and Chair, Culture Transformation Practice

Author of LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture, and FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution, available from Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

See the review of LEVERAGE in The Economist (January 9, 2014).

John also writes thriller novels:




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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2 Responses to Classical Music in the South of France

  1. Frank Tempesta says:

    The photo looks like the ten musicians are standing in front of a painting. Christiane looks as young as the musicians. Enjoy. Sometime, we’re going to be there during the festival.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Harriet Wadia says:



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