Covid France: Musicians perform for public via open windows

Musicians in a town in southwest France took part in a concert from neighbouring buildings this weekend, with residents saying the event gave them ‘hope’

22 March 2021
By Hannah Thompson

Musicians in southwest France this weekend performed public concerts for the first time in months - but from open windows in the centre of town.

The Fenêtres musicales (Musical windows) event took place on Sunday, March 21 In Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne. Musicians across the town opened windows in central buildings, and played their instruments to passing members of the public.

Hugo Schmitt, saxophonist at the Orchestre de la Cité at Ingres, told FranceInfo: “After a year without any concerts, it’s a real relief. To be able to play in the centre of Montauban, in beautiful apartments next to open windows, especially during this period, which has been hard for us as artists, it’s really a gift.”

Around 20 musicians played by open windows to take part in the event, with the “concert” lasting around 90 minutes.

Three singers and a pianist also played a rendition of Mozart’s Nocturnes. A small crowd of people gathered to listen.

(Photo: FranceInfo / Screenshot)

One of the singers, Eugenie Berrocq, said: “Because we can’t go to theatres, and we can’t do this in a more conventional or traditional way, we have to reinvent ourselves. There are many artists who have done this, and I think it’s a very good idea to do it in this way.”

One resident said: “We’ve been without culture for a year now, it’s starting to get a bit long. So this kind of initiative is great.”

Another said: “It’s nice, it does you good to watch people playing. We’ve missed it a bit.”

One local man said the event had given him hope. He said: “It proves that culture is alive, art is alive, and that artists are as well, and that we can look and hope for a future of culture.”  

Concert halls and public performance venues - as well as cinemas, museums, and theatres - have been closed in France due to the Covid-19 pandemic since October 2020. 

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