The Colonne Orchestra is a French symphony orchestra, founded in 1873 by the violinist and conductor Édouard Colonne.
While leader of the Opéra de Paris orchestra, Édouard Colonne was engaged by the publisher Georges Hartmann to lead a series of popular concerts which he founded under the title of ‘Concert National’ in March 1873. While at first a great success, the financial burden forced Hartmann to withdraw from the enterprise.
However, Colonne then decided to form his own orchestra, ‘l’Association artistique des Concerts Colonne’ based at the Théâtre du Châtelet in November 1873. The Concerts Colonne placed particular emphasis on contemporary music of the time (Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Charpentier, Fauré, d'Indy, Debussy, Ravel, Widor, Enescu, Dukas and Chabrier). Alongside these were programmed Wagner and Richard Strauss, and Colonne revived the music of Hector Berlioz such as La Damnation de Faust, which was performed 172 times up to the First World War.
A recent musical director, Laurent Petitgirard, had his contract renewed until 2014.
From 2016 the orchestra used the 1865 Salle Wagram, then equipped for 800 spectators, for its orchestral concerts.
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- Nichols R. The Harlequin Years; Music in Paris 1917–1929. Thames & Hudson, London, 2002.
- Fauchet, Benoît. Wagram – nouvelle bataille. (Report.) Diapason, September 2016, No649. p10.