Maurin Auxéméry has his dream job. He’s the Programming Director for The Montreal International Jazz Festival and Les Francofolies, which takes place in mid-June, just before the world’s largest jazz festival begins.

“I grew up in Marciac a rural community in Southeastern France. For a short period during the summer, the town is filled with jazz fans who attend what is considered one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in Europe. Before and after that – we have lots of cows and other farm animals in the fields.”

“From the time I was in my early 20s, I knew that I wanted to do this job… that I wanted to be responsible for programming a jazz festival. I set my sights on that goal and worked towards it.”

When asked how he came to appreciate jazz as an art form, Maurin replied; “My parents loved jazz – it was always playing in the house. My Dad especially was a big fan of Thelonious Monk. I grew up going to the festival – the whole town went.”

Maurin moved to Montreal in 2006, and he worked for a local jazz record label, and then established his own booking and artist management company. He started working with the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2013. “I had the benefit of working with both André Ménard (co-founder of the festival) and Laurent Saulnier. I reported directly to Laurent and I learned a lot about programming, but also about setting up the festival site, how to keep sightlines open to the stage, how to enhance the flow of pedestrians walking the site.”

“The interesting part of my job is creating something that is fun and diverse.” Part of that involves programming for the big concert halls, the outdoor stages and the intimate halls like the Gesu. The Festival hosts 3,000 musicians from 30 countries, to perform 1,000 concerts and performances over a period of 10 days in 15 concert halls and 8 outdoor stages. Yes indeed – there is music in the air!

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