Rachid Safir

Classical tenor, teacher and choirmaster (Algeria - 1942)

Choir conductor Rachid Safir mastered the art of vocal polyphony, whose ten-century repertoire he has been exploring with his vocal ensemble, Solistes XXI. He breathed life into a diverse corpus of works, which he has been promoting with simplicity and versatility.

Rachid Safir's classical music training started with playing the violin at age 7, he then turned to singing and choral direction. Training for choir direction, he studied with Stéphane Caillat, Guy Reibel and Philippe Caillard. Alfred Deller mentored him on interpretation. He first started a career as a solo singer and, alongside this, started to collaborate with vocal ensembles such as Groupe Vocal de France and Clemencic Consort. He co-founded vocal group A sei voci and collaborated with them for about 10 years. During the 1980s, he worked for a few years with Radio France Choir.

From 1989 to 1997, he was the artistic director of the Centre d’Art Polyphonique de Paris-Ile-de-France. Choirmaster from 1970, he has been directing his own vocal ensemble ‘Les Jeunes solistes’, today called Solistes XXI, since 1988. He is a multifaceted artist whose focus is on a limitless repertoire, freedom of interpretation and flexibility. With his vocal ensemble, he has earned a solid European reputation for his interpretation of the music of our time and has conducted many original creations. His extensive discography has also been covering a large part of the polyphonic repertoire. As a professor, he taught at the Conservatory of Paris and Lyon, and today, he also gives masterclasses.

6 landmark dates in the life of Rachid Safir:

  • 1977: Co-founder of ‘A Sei Voci’, with Bernard Fabre-Garrus and Régis Oudot
  • 1985: Started teaching at the Conservatory of Lyon
  • 1988: Founded the vocal ensemble ‘Les Jeunes solistes’, now known as 'Solistes XXI'
  • 1989: Was appointed artistic director of the Centre d’Art Polyphonique de Paris-Ile-de-France
  • 2013: Conducted La fureur d’aimer by Edith Canat de Chizy, together with Solistes XXI, at the Collège des Bernardins, Paris, as part of the Ile de France Festival
  • 2013: Conducted Litanies pour Ronchamp by Gilbert Amy, for a recording session

Biography from Radio France’s document database