Perfect harmony

The Women’s EHF EURO 2018, the Philharmonie de Paris via its Démos programme and the French Handball Federation are coming together in an all-new partnership in the history of French sports. The sharing of experiences and the desire to ensure that everyone can have access to both of these worlds are at the heart of the project.

When sports and music are on the same page

Sports and music have always been closely linked. At every stadium and at every venue, there’s always music. It builds atmosphere, provides a rhythm for encouragements, fills gaps in the action and accompanies every celebration. Just like sports, it brings people together. In the stands and in the changing rooms.

Just like an orchestra, every court has its soloists and virtuosos, capable of fancy flights and improvisations that dazzle and produce something exceptional. But what would the soloist be without the other team members, without the orchestra? Each person’s music contributes to the collective masterpiece.

Every pass on the handball court is like a note carefully added to the sheet music. To direct it all, the coach becomes the conductor and puts the team through its paces. During all the training and rehearsals, the coach works to bring it all together, while banishing each imperfection and every wrong note.

On the court, wingers, forwards, goalkeepers and backs, all aligned, all following the same tempo. And on stage, strings, percussion, brass, all in tune and following the same rhythm. Ultimately, the goal is the same: perfect harmony. A harmony that will get the crowd on its feet, cheering and applauding, and release emotions of all kinds. These emotions will remain etched forever in the minds of everyone who participates in this glorious moment, whether in a concert hall or sports centre.

High-level sports are often compared with art. What then could be more natural than an association of the Philharmonie de Paris , the French Handball Federation and the first EHF EURO organised in France. This agreement validates the desire to bring these two worlds, seemingly far apart, closer than could ever be imagined. And for each of the signatories, the objective is to reach out to everyone.

Built on the desire of the players on the French national team, the reigning world champions, to associate sports and music, this partnership, a first in the history of French sports, is much more than just a signature on the dotted line. It’s a genuine 360° project, with concrete actions in the field as the priority. Or rather, on the courts. 

950 children involved

Launched in 2010, Démos is a socially-oriented musical and orchestral education project that aims to bring the Paris Philharmonic into the cultural reach of everyone. It involves children from 7 to 12 years of age from inner-city neighbourhoods or rural zones experiencing social difficulties. Today, more than 3,000 children are participating in some 30 orchestras.  Nationally, more than 1/5 of the FFhandball members (120,000) are under 12 years of age. This is a key group that the federation is supporting with various development projects and efforts to encourage participation by everyone.

Through different actions, this agreement will involve 950 children (475 handball players and 475 Démos musicians). The cornerstone of this project will be a day of sharing and discovery (a morning of handball, an afternoon of music) between the young people in both groups, in each of the five regions hosting the competition (Brest, Montbéliard, Nancy, Nantes, Paris).

During the competition from 29 November to 16 December, five events will be preceded by the Démos children performing the event’s official music “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, directly in the arenas. Written by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1874 for the play “Peer Gynt”, written by Henrik Ibsen, this music will be used during each of the 47 EHF EURO matches and at each of the main moments of the competition, such as the random draw in June 2018. It’s an additional component of the “Handballissime” concept, with this superlative having been created for the event in order to encourage the athletes to surpass themselves, as the spectators celebrate handball and women’s sports. For the celebration to be great, it has to be intense.

Up to the start of the tournament, the players and staff of the French team will attend concerts before receiving the Paris Philharmonic during their matches. A project to broadcast certain of the EHF EURO 2018 matches is also being studied.  Budding musicians and apprentice handball players, trainer and orchestra conductor, world champions and virtuosos, everyone will be on hand for the first Handball EURO organised in France.