The Salle Pleyel
© P.E Rastoin
A legendary landmark
In 1927, the Pleyel piano manufacturer, already more than a hundred years old, confirmed its glory by investing in the construction of a new hall that was entirely devoted to concert music: a vast building was decided upon not far from the place de l’Étoile, with a 3,000 seat auditorium built in a modern style for the period. The Salle Pleyel, designed by the architect Gustave Lion thus opened on October 19th, 1927, inaugurated by a monumental concert combining Wagner, the great names of international music (Falla, Stravinsky) and representatives of the French musical scene (Franck, Dukas, Debussy and Ravel).
A fire ravaged the auditorium less than nine months after its opening. The branch of the maison Pleyel that managed the building never recovered from the financial shock, and so in 1935, reduced to a scale of 2,400 seats, the hall became the property of the Crédit Lyonnais bank that originally granted the loan.
The Salle Pleyel became the most celebrated concert location in Paris. It was there that Stravinsky returned to direct Agon in 1957, then Threni in 1958, and where Otto Klemperer gave his highly intense spiritual interpretations of Mahler’s 9th Symphony and Beethoven’s Heroica. It is there that the Orchestre de Paris took up residence and conquered a wide audience with Daniel Barenboïm. It is there that musicians ranging from Louis Armstrong to Ravi Shankar, from Sviatoslav Richter to Jorge Bolet, from Jascha Heifetz to David Oïstrakh; all of the great interpreters who have marked our perception of music have played.
In 1998, following the financial difficulties of the Crédit Lyonnais, the Salle Pleyel was put up for sale. Its new proprietor, M. Hubert Martigny, chairman of the board of IDSH, awarded the artistic direction of the Salle Pleyel to Carla-Maria Tarditi until it closed in 2002 for renovation work.