The Abbey of Royaumont is one of the founders of the network of heritage site for culture since 1972. A pioneer in the reutilization of artistic heritage since the 1930s, the Abbey has managed to become an important cultural institution of music and dance.
THE HERITAGE SITE
The Cistercian abbey of Royaumont was built in 1228 by Louis IX – the future Saint Louis – with the support of his mother Blanche de Castille, and achieved great renown during the 13th century. Weakened by famines and the Hundred Years War, at the time of the French Revolution the abbey was declared ‘national property’ and was sold at auction in 1791 – at that time only ten monks remained. Its new owners transformed it into a cotton mill, and following several further reincarnations, including as a First World War hospital, the abbey regained its original vocation in 1869, housing the novice nuns of the congregation of Sainte-Famille, Bordeaux. In 1905 Jules Goüin acquired the former monastery and began to restore its buildings. In the 1930s his grandson Henry Goüin opened the doors of the abbey to artists and intellectuals.
THE CULTURAL PROJECT
The Royaumont Foundation is an international centre for music and dance, created in 1964 by Henry and Isabel Goüin. The Foundation was gifted the 13th-century Cistercian abbey, and today aims to conserve and enrich its heritage, to give it new life by putting it at the service of artists, and to make it accessible to the public. Its programmes of research and experimentation, training and creation, all centred around music and dance, are open to professionals from all around the world who benefit from the presence of the centre’s resident ensembles and the François-Lang Music Library. Together they establish a rich dialogue between heritage conservation and artistic invention. The Foundation welcomes public audiences to its numerous events, concerts, training courses and workshops. It also hosts conferences throughout the year, and develops links with those from the field of economics engaged in cultural work. Royaumont Abbey is open 365 days a year.
Royaumont is a unique centre whose public performances reflect the attention given to musical research and practice, rehearsal and transmission, in the framework of its professional training courses. The Foundation has a long history of supporting creative artists in their work, and its resources, including a music library, Cavaille-Coll organ and fully-equipped rehearsal and performance spaces, make Royaumont an exceptional place for its artists in residence to imagine, experiment and communicate.
Five artistic programmes take place at the abbey:
- the voice in dramatic performance
- keyboards (organ, harpsichord, pianoforte and piano)
- contemporary music
- transcultural music
- choreographic research and creation
A LOCAL AND REGIONAL PRESENCE
The Royaumont Foundation is convinced that access to culture and artistic practice is an essential tool for social integration. Each year the Foundation welcomes 15,000 children and young people for events and workshops which encourage them to explore heritage and culture. For over ten years, in the framework of regional cultural partnership agreements, the Royaumont Foundation has put in place activities in the fields of music and dance to promote educational achievement and social cohesion. The Foundation also works on professional insertion projects, artistic and cultural practice, and the promotion of heritage and music to young audiences.