The Choir of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

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October 15, 2023, 4:00pm

From the earliest times, music has been an integral part of the life of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. While the pointed arches of the new gothic style rose up to the heavens to form the chancel, the new Notre-Dame Choir School, with its magnificent polyphony, was born. The voices of the choristers responded in virtuosity to that of the builders. Since that time, the musical tradition at Notre Dame has been upheld to the highest degree and each generation in turn, has added a stone to the prestigious edifice, which is that of the Cathedral’s musical history.

Perfectly aware of the centuries-old inheritance, the influence of its activities both at home and abroad, and the high quality of musical education provided by the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, the State, the City of Paris and the Parisian Diocesan Association decided together in 1991 to found an association of sacred music at Notre Dame de Paris.

Responsible for the coordination at both administrative and artistic levels of all musical activities in the Cathedral, Musique Sacrée at Notre-Dame de Paris has, first and foremost, the task of teaching music, training singers, organizing the musical accompaniment of the liturgy, proposing concerts and recitals, and carrying out research into the rich musical inheritance of Notre-Dame. It also plays an important role in the creation of new musical works and in their circulation.

Throughout the annual concert season, the various choirs perform different programs – ranging from Gregorian chant to the great classics of choral repertoire. They perform in Paris itself, in other cities around France and in other countries abroad. On occasion the groups perform with Baroque or Symphony orchestras. The Choir School takes pride in its partnerships with other large institutions.

Several recordings document the many projects of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Choir and showcase the choir’s stylistic diversity, from early to contemporary music.

Musique Sacrée à Notre-Dame de Paris is supported by the DRAC Ile-de-France, the City of Paris, the Parisian Diocesan Association, the Fondation Notre Dame, the Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller and several others.

Director and Principal Choir Master, Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris

Henri Chalet is Director and Principal Choir Master of Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris; a position that he has held since 2014, having previously served as Assistant Choir Master at the cathedral under Lionel Sow. Mr. Chalet holds degrees from the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris in composition, and from the National Conservatory of Music in Lyon in choral conducting.

With the Choir of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, he regularly conducts performances, or prepares the choir to perform with guest conductors, for performances of the great monuments of sacred music such as the Monteverdi Vespers, J.S. Bach St. Matthew Passion, Haydn Creation, Mozart Requiem, Brahms A German Requiem, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, the Stravinsky Mass, Thierry Escaich’s Last Gospel, and Philippe Hersant’s Vespers.

Previously, Mr. Chalet conducted the mixed-voice jeune chœur de Paris at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional from 2010 to 2017. In that post he succeeded the group’s founder Laurence Equilbey, and Geoffroy Jourdain, whom he had previously served as an assistant. Until 2011 he also served as artistic director of the Saint-Christophe de Javel Maitrise, an ensemble with whom he recorded Duruflé's Requiem and Yves Castagnet's Psalms, among others. Additionally, from 2011 to 2013, he regularly coached the choir of the Orchestre de Paris.

Mr. Chalet has been invited to conduct in many prestigious concert venues in France, including Bordeaux, Opéra Comique, and Le Volcan in Le Havre. Around the world he has performed at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Clare College of Cambridge, UK, the Luxembourg Philharmonie, the Budapest Radio Choir, and at New-York’s Lincoln Center. Henri Chalet has collaborated with many great conductors including Leonardo Garcia Alarcon, Sir Roger Norrington, David Reiland, John Nelson, Sofi Jeannin, and Gustavo Dudamel. With the youth choir of Notre-Dame de Paris, he has conducted or prepared the choir for prestigious recordings with Natalie Dessay, Karine Deshayes, Philippe Cassard, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and the Orchestre National de France, and with Sabine Devieilhe and the Les Ambassadeurs orchestra.

Also a trained professional organist with a degree from the Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt Regional Conservatory, Mr. Chalet was one of the titular organists at the church of Notre-Dame in Versailles until 2014.

In 2020, Mr. Chalet was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

Titular organist of the choir organ at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

Born in Paris in 1964, Yves Castagnet pursued his musical studies at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) in organ, harmony, couterpoint, fugue, orchestration and improvisation classes. His accomplishments were recognized by several first prizes, including a first prize in organ in 1985.

In 1988 he was awarded first prize for interpretation at the international competition “Grand-Prix de Chartres” which afforded him the opportunity to begin an international career as soloist in France and abroad.

In addition to his solo activities, Yves Castagnet devotes a large part of his time to his role as liturgical organist. Since 1988 he has been titular organist of the choir at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, where each day he accompanies the choral services sung by the Cathedral choir. Since the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019, he continues to accompany the daily liturgies of the cathedral which are now occurring at the Church of Saint Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris.

Both as organist and continuo player, Yves Castagnet is invested in the art of accompanying singers, and in this role, he teaches musical interpretation to the singers of the adult choir of the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, whose productions he regularly accompanies in concert and in liturgy.

Mr. Castagnet has also begun to compose new music in recent years. His works, essentially vocal, are for the most part intimately linked to the musical atmosphere of the unique place that is Notre-Dame Cathedral.


Henri Chalet, Director
Yves Castagnet, Organist

"Carillon de Westminster" - Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

"Litanies à la Vierge Noire" Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

"Messe Brève" - Yves Castagnet (b. 1964)
Agnus Dei

"Cantique de Jean Racine" - Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)


"Requiem, Op. 48" - Gabriel Fauré
Introit et Kyrie
Pie Jesu
Agnus Dei
Libera me
In Paradisum

The U.S. tour by the Choir of Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris is arranged in cooperation with Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.

Concerts at St. Ignatius