France Musique in English

By: Frank Cadenhead.  Frequent world travelers often expect, whether in Dubai or Berlin, Rome, Tokyo or Santiago, that their English will normally get them from the airport to a hotel and restaurant, etc. Many notice, however, that in Paris, or elsewhere in France, a French language phrasebook can be a helpful tool. The French are proud of their language and remember that in the distant past it was an international language and see no compelling need to automatically learn to communicate in that new major international language, English. Three out of four French students have taken English classes, it is reported, but foreigners usually hear little evidence of that from the natives.

You will notice that many other countries in Europe routinely create an English version of their important websites. This is not the case in France except when it is entirely necessary. That is why the new English edition of classical music broadcaster France Musique was such a surprise. The wealth of recorded and live concerts and other offerings from France Musique is a rich treasure which has been mostly enjoyed by French-speaking audiences around the world. It is now available for a click at (the French version is still at The English version is clearly still in the development stage but the rich archive of some 1600 recordings of live events is beginning to be accessible.

The broadcast center of Radio France is equivalent to the BBC in the UK and France Musique, the classical music division, has not one but two important radio orchestras plus a world-renowned chorus and a splendid children’s chorus. Aside from concerts at the Auditorium of Radio France, concerts and operas are broadcast from several venues, the Theatre des Champs-Elysées, the new Philharmonie, the Opera-Comique, the Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille plus other venues around France. Audio broadcasts from these major venues are regularly broadcast and, in recent years, videos of the performances have become much more common. Available now, for example, is Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the splendid soprano Karine Deshayes and is only part of a concert of French music broadcast live from the Auditorium of Radio France on Saturday 24 March 2018. From the Opéra Comique, a delicious December 29 live performance of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, Louis Langrée conducting, is also available in one click.

Marc Voinchet, Director of France Musique, says: “We wanted to invite people from around the world to discover for themselves the full extent of our rich music catalogue. offers concerts recorded at the Radio France Auditorium, musical sessions in our studios in Paris, a gallery of knowledge and musical practices, and seven fantastic online radio stations – we simply didn’t want to keep it all to ourselves anymore!” The seven streaming radio stations are “Easy Classical,” “Classical Extra,” “Jazz,” “Radio France Concerts,” Radio France’s own record label “Ocora World Music” “Contemporary” and “Film Music.” There is so much to explore.

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