Many of the festival’s performers have the great privilege of performing in the historic and beautifully-restored Stavelot Abbey. Founded in the seventh century by the Benedictine monk Remacle, it was renowned throughout the Principality of Stavelot-Malmedy for its beauty and as a centre of religion and power throughout the centuries. Many of its artistic treasures were either destroyed or plundered during the French revolution, but there are more than mere vestiges of its former glory still to be found there.
The festival’s reputation rests on the many and varied artistic ventures that it has undertaken since its original incarnation in 1916 as the Concerts Micha, founded by Octave Micha, the father of Raymond. With his friends, Raymond went on to found the Festival de Stavelot in 1957, and took part in the creation of the Festival de Wallonie in 1971.
After more than sixty seasons, the Festival remains true to its spirit and the wishes of its founder: the performance of chamber music in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, always to the highest standards both in the choice of artists and repertoire. For example, the festival has regularly welcomed the renowned violinist Arthur Grumiaux. The full range of instrumental music is to be found here, as is the art of song.
Shortly after the inception of the festival, to accommodate all those wishing to attend, out evening concerts have been repeated the following night; and since 1970, our morning concerts have been bringing in audiences keen for an introduction to different repertoire and an educational experience. The festival also organises masterclasses with established performers for young professionals and keen amateurs alike.
These days, with the advent of new technologies, the festival is able to reach new audiences and stay in touch in real time with our followers. Electronic ticketing is convenient for concert-goers and is another way for the festival to improve its offering.
The festival, a not-for-profit organization in which the older generations mix with the young, is assisted by another not-for-profit organization special mention of which must be made, The Friends of the Festival, our most loyal and direct supporter.