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Novembre 2021 :
La Philharmonie de Paris  direction de son ensemble Le Paradoxe

Janvier 2022 :
Le Châtelet, direction ensemble le Paradoxe

Janvier 2022 :
Sortie de son livre chez Flammarion - Une histoire Vivante de la Musique

Des premiers psaumes « psalmodiés » aux créateurs de nouveaux sons tels Iannis Xenakis ou Pierre Boulez, voici une histoire de la musique réinitialisée par une cheffe d’orchestre passionnée de pédagogie, qui entreprend ici de la raconter de l’intérieur.


5 questions... - Mélanie LEVY THIEBAUT

1. How did you get into the world of music?

Through Xenakis, Boulez, Ligeti, Stockhausen and .... Graciane Finzi who is my mother. She was doing her research in this universe and I used to lock myself in my room (I was 6 years old) with Beethoven symphonies. I would get up on a little stool and conduct. And I thought that if I had people in front of me, this job must be intoxicating. Today I can tell you that it is much more than that. I lived in Morocco, so the beach and the sea were much more familiar to me than scales and arpeggios. Then I studied at the CNSM in Paris and obtained three first prizes (harpsichord, basso ontinuo and chamber music). Then Spain for conducting where I won an International Conducting Prize in Madrid.

2. How has the conducting profession evolved since you started?

Since the great conductors like Toscanini, Furtwängler, Karajan and others, the "star system" of the conductor has fallen apart. And so much the better. Some will say that it is because there are no more great conductors like them, but I believe above all that we have finally put the human being back where he belongs: at the centre of Humanity. The stars of the concerts are Mozart, Schumann, Ravel and Stravinsky.... They are the ones who guide us and it is our role as conductors to serve them so that the heritage continues to be as close as possible to their respective thoughts.

3. Is it difficult to impose yourself as a woman in front of orchestra musicians?

I would have had to be a man in a previous life to be able to answer this question. What is certain is that I would like to put an end to the eternal preconception that musicians are tough people. This is not true. I don't know any orchestral musician in the world who doesn't want to give a good concert. So if you do your job well, with heart and sincerity, they give themselves over to you. The rest is a matter of programming and individual interests. As for clothing, I conduct in trousers and frock coat because I think I look good in them, they allow me to move around and above all I like the sobriety and humility that this imposes on the composers and their works. Yes, I wear make-up, because even if the audience cannot see me, the musicians are dressed up, so I am too. This is part of our preparation, which allows for this alchemy of matter (of the body) and light (of the mind).

4. What were your most beautiful musical encounters?

My conducting teacher, Antoni Ros-Marbà, then Manuel Rosenthal and Sergiu Celibidache, two great masters who were not my teachers but whom I met on several occasions in a very intensive way. The clarinettist Michel Portal who taught me a lot about Piazzolla's music and the codes of Argentine tango; José van Dam, that immense singer who has the art of diction and prosody; the violinist Deborah Nemtanu whom I accompanied in Ravel's Tzigane in which we had so much fun that I remember bursting out laughing during the performance of the work in concert! And then there are orchestras like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège or the San Sebastian Symphony Orchestra or the Orchestre de Douai Hauts-de-France, orchestras that "keep you loyal" because trust is established between you and the musicians.

5. What are your other musical activities?

My career began in a very enthusiastic way, since after having been assistant conductor at the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra, I was spotted by the Cadre Noir of Saumur and I was their conductor for their big galas abroad (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris Bercy..). Then in 2005 I wanted to have my own structure for very personal projects and I created the Manifesto Orchestra. In 2008 I started to give conferences on management and this is very important to me because it allows me to pass on and talk about what I love most: orchestral musicians (their fears, their joys...). In 2014 I was appointed musical director of the Ensemble Instrumental de la Mayenne. In parallel to all this I have developed my love for silent cinema by conducting film-concerts.

From Mother to Daughter

Three women meet on stage: the composer Graziane Finzi, reciter, the conductor Mélanie Levy-Thiébaut, the granddaughter Giovanna Thiébaut. An engaging, surprising and brilliant encounter based on the works of Graziane Finzi and Ottorino Respighi.


Donner vie aux films muets est la volonté de Mélanie Levy-Thiébaut. Elle excelle en donnant une dimension à chaque scène, en trouvant les couleurs qui donnent la parole à chaque personnage.
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Nicole Viciana - International Art Management
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