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In New Concert Hall, Paris Orchestra Honors Last Week's Terror Victims

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And, Renee, there is one change that has come to the neighborhood you were just talking about.

(SOUNDBITE OF GABRIEL FAURE SONG, "THE REQUIEM")

GREENE: That is the Paris Orchestra, one of France's most elite orchestras, paying tribute to the victims of last week's terrorist attacks.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The gleaming, new 2,400-seat Philharmonie de Paris opened its doors in the 19th arrondissement yesterday. The neighborhood, as we heard, has made news for its ties to the Charlie Hebdo attackers. But last night it was humming with concert-goers, including French President Francois Hollande.

GREENE: The audience was treated to a performance of "The Requiem" by French composer Gabriel Faure.

(SOUNDBITE OF GABRIEL FAURE SONG, "THE REQUIEM")

GREENE: Doreen Carvajal is culture correspondent for The New York Times. She's based in Paris.

DOREEN CARVAJAL: It's the first time that a grand cultural institution has moved beyond the Seine River to the edges of Paris in the Northeast. And the idea of the architect, Jean Nouvel, is that this grand temple points toward the suburbs that have been scorned by the city of light.

GREENE: Carvajal adds that as the audience for classical music ages, the Paris Orchestra is trying to expand its reach.

MONTAGNE: The hall is promising a wide range of eclectic programming, like world music and hip-hop.

CARVAJAL: So they are trying to appeal to people with different musical tastes and to make them realize that music can be part of life, part of your weekend leisure activities.

MONTAGNE: Carvajal says some Parisians are not happy about having to trek to the outskirts of the city to hear the Paris Orchestra, especially since turbulence is nothing new in the neighborhood. It was the center of youth riots 10 years ago.

GREENE: At the same time, she says there are residents of the 19th arrondissement who rarely go to the city center.

CARVAJAL: There are people who have never been to the Louvre before, who have never been to the Eiffel Tower. They regard each other with wariness, and so now they have this grand concert hall that may bring people together.

(SOUNDBITE OF GABRIEL FAURE SONG) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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