Garde républicaine



François Boulanger, conductor of the Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine since 1997, is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, where he was trained in the purest tradition of the French music school.

While at the conservatoire he was awarded prizes in percussion, harmony and counterpoint, conducting and piano.

Subsequently he won competitions in Paris, Besançon and Geneva.
He has appeared as both conductor and piano soloist with many orchestras throughout the world, including the Paris Opera Orchestra, Lyon National Orchestra, Luxemburg Radio Television orchestra, Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

François Boulanger, who holds the rank of Colonel in the French army, has focused his career on the preservation of the tradition and the music performed by the Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine. He was made, in July 2004, Chevalier of the Arts and Letters.

The origin of the ”Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine” dates back to 1848. It was officially founded in 1852, during the flag ceremony at the Champs de Mars. It was such a success that Général Magnan, military governor of Paris, publically congratulated Paulus, his first chief. Thus encouraged, he obtained, by the 12th March 1856 decree, the transformation of this brass band into a philharmonic society, under the name “Musique de la Garde de Paris”.

In 1871, the “Musique de la Garde de Paris” became the “Musique de la Garde républicaine”.

As soon as 1872, the Music became a true ambassador of France, when it started its round of trips abroad. In that year, the USA welcomed the Music for the first time. For three months, from New York to Chicago, Pittsburgh to Baltimore and Philadelphy to Boston, the Music met immediate and huge success and immense enthousiasm. This tour marked the beginning of the influence of the French School in the USA. The Guard will return in 1903, 1953, 1975 and 2001.

Several other tours (to Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Singapour, Russia, Khazakstan...) have confirmed its prestige around the world.

In 1993, “Musique de la Garde républicaine” became called "Orchestre de la Garde républicaine" .

This orchestra is made up of two main ensembles :
- The wind orchestra (80 musicians)
- The string orchestra (40 musicians), with quartet and chamber formation (12 or 24 players).

Sometimes, these two ensembles play together, as the Symphonic orchestra.

The orchestra of the French Republican Guard is in a position to play all the classical music repertoire, from the 17th century up to the present day. Some of the great composers have conducted the wind orchestra playing their own works : Camille Saint-Saëns (Cantate), Maurice Ravel (Boléro), Florent Schmitt composed Les Dionysiaques especially for this orchestra.

Musicians are recruited by audition regrouping the elite of French professionnals trained by the national conservatoires of music of Paris and Lyon.

The orchestra has been conducted since 1997 by colonel François Boulanger, assisted by lieutenant-colonel Sébastien Billard.