Recognized for her compelling intensity and lustrous tone, French pianist Brigitte Armenier has had a most unusual path. A graduate of the Conservatoire de Musique in Avignon, France, she studied there from 6 to 16 years old. She then stopped playing entirely for the next twenty years.
It is thanks to the understanding she developed working with Biodynamic Agriculture with her husband Philippe Armenier on their vineyard Domaine de Marcoux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, that she found her way back to music. Autodidact since then, she recorded a CD of solo piano repertoire, Analogos: Between Music and Biodynamic Agriculture which includes a 25 page written interview.
She lives in California since 2001 where her husband is the main Biodynamic consultant on the West Coast. Collaborations with her daughter Gabrielle include a lecture-performance at Harvard Divinity School with Juilliard Principal Conductor Murray Colosimo; also in their common repertoire are Liszt's Les Annees de Pelerinage, a selection from his masterwork suite, which will be given at the Lincoln Theater, Napa, in April 2018.
I was born near Chartres, at the heart of France, of winter and of night.
Agriculture used to be the art of bringing culture to nature.
I remember the 'wonderful' of the Conservatory:
Music above all... and my old master, his love for music and my veneration for him.
The friendships and the rigor and discipline of our studies. The flowing of the atmospheres along the seasons.
Then came the technological use of chemicals and artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides...
I remember the 'ugly' of the Conservatory:
Over the years, the being of Music increasingly reduced to the limited dimensions of
analyses, techniques and competitions, only leading to the loss of meaning.
... no longer leading toward a 'culture', a living raising-up but rather toward a
true petrification and mummification of the soils. The kingdom of life had been
touched by the falling-down gesture of gravity and death.
I was 16 when I graduated from the Music Conservatory of Avignon.
I then stopped playing the piano for twenty years.
Between Music and Biodynamic Agriculture
Brigitte Armenier piano
Brigitte Armenier as interviewed by Charles Sepos, Doctor of Musical Arts
Acres of vineyard in Provence and the name of the Armenier family since 1344 in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Nearly twenty ago, Philippe and I converted his family estate Domaine de Marcoux
into biodynamic agriculture.
Ten years ago: I was 36 when I started playing the piano again.
Three years afterwards, we moved to California and started to help wineries convert their vineyards
into the art of biodynamic agriculture.
Or from the lofty and radiant teachings of Rudolf Steiner:
Music and Agriculture as one living experience.