Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fez Festival loses its Artistic Director

The View from Fez has just learned that Gerard Kurdjian, Artistic Director of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, has resigned.

Gerard Kurdjian at the 2009 Fes Festival

Gerard was a popular and much respected member of the festival team, so his departure has shocked festival fans.

"It's a sad day for Fez," says former UK representative Mary Finnigan. "Gerard's energy, his deep musical knowledge and his vibrant personality made a lasting impression on everyone who worked with him".

Except for one edition in 2006, Gerard has curated the festival since it started in 1994. During his 15 years in the role, he has brought some of the greatest musicians on the world stage to Fez - including Ravi Shankhar, William Christie, Youssou N'Dour, Miriam Makeba, Jessie Norman, Salif Keita, Julian Weiss and Gilberto Gil - to name but a small selection.

Gerard's decision to leave follows a string of resignations that started with the departure of the festival founder, Faouzi Skali, in 2007. Since then, there have been three people in the Director General role - Naima Lahbil, Fatima Sadiqi and the present incumbent, Abdelhak Azzouzi. North American Director Zeyba Rahman's resignation in 2007 was followed by Financial Director Agnes Amrani, Sponsorship Director Amina Fassi Fehri, Production Director Ali Diouri, Communications Director Laila Sebbane and several other festival workers including Nicolas Guillou, Fabrice Villain, Hicham Ait Mbarak and Mary Finnigan.


Anonymous said...

Hi, it might be useful if you could give us some more detail on the current structure of the Festival's organisation, and who are in the positions of power and who appoints them. The loss of these people obviously is seen as critical by yourself, but without putting it in the context of the current organisation structure it is hard for rest of us to understand the impact of all these resignations.

Pema said...

Hi Anonymous,
There is only one person in a position of power in the festival organisation. His name is Mohammed Kabbaj and he was appointed by the King. M. Kabbaj is a former member of the king's cabinet and currently mayor of Casablanca.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe it is such a big loss as it is made out to be. If you look up the acts in recent times, the selection of music is far from being "sacred" and when I spoke to Gerard on this, he said he had to accomodate the musicians he knew - unfortunate !!

I wish the in-coming person will choose the acts to live up to the caption of this great festivl

Anonymous said...

With Gerard gone, would wouldone contact to propose a presentation at the festival - would anyone happen to know the contact info of the person in charge - thanks !?

Helen Ranger said...

Hi Anonymous
The Festival management has been invited to comment, and to tell us who the new artistic director is, but they have not taken this opportunity. I'd suggest you contact the Festival office through the website