Book and Lyrics
A native of Quebec, Luc Plamondon’s artistry has made him a national treasure in Canada and a big star in France and Europe.
After studying literature, art history and modern languages in Montreal, Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and New York, Mr. Plamondon was inspired by the Broadway productions of “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” and became convinced that his vocation was to write rock musicals.
Almost immediately – in the early 1970’s – pop and rock singers in Canada and France embraced his songs. In 1979 his masterpiece rock opera “Starmania” (with music by Michel Berger) debuted at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. It was directed by Tom O’Horgan who incidentally had directed the original Broadway productions of “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar!” During the past 20 years “Starmania” has been revived several times and is currently in the seventh successful season of its most recent revival in Paris. In 1992 an all-star English language version of “Starmania” was released on CD. The English lyrics were written by fabled lyricist Tim Rice; performers included Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Nina Hagen and Celine Dion. Altogether, more than 3 million people have seen “:Starmania” on stage, and more than 5 million CD’s have been sold.
Mr. Plamondon has written several other musicals including “La Legende de Jimmy,” another significant hit on the Paris stage, created with composer Michel Berger, and “Les Romantiques” based on the life of French 19th century feminist writer George Sand. He also collaborated with the legendary French singer Barbara on the songs of “Lily Passion,” a two-character musical show which she performed with Gerard Depardieu.
In 1991, Celine Dion recorded an entire album of Mr. Plamondon’s songs, selling 1,500,000 copies. Mr. Plamondon has frequently collaborated with Ms. Dion. Most recently, the song “Live For The One I Love” from “Notre Dame de Paris” (music by Richard Cocciante) appears on Celine Dion’s greatest hits album, which within its first two weeks of release was the number one selling album in the United States.
On top of winning numerous awards for his songs and his shows, Mr. Plamondon was bestowed an honorary Doctorate in Literature by the Laval University in Quebec, received Canada Governor General’s prize for lifetime achievement, and was inducted in 1998 into the Hall of Fame of Canadian music. Mr. Plamondon is a Chevalier of the Order of Quebec and Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France.
As a musical personality, Richard Cocciante occupies a rare position. Cocciante the singer is extremely popular on three continents, singing in four languages. Cocciante the songwriter provides melodies not only for himself but for some of the most famous singers in the world. And in his first full-length effort, Cocciante the composer has created the musical score for the hottest new stage musical in the world – Notre Dame de Paris. And all this from a man of music who is completely self-educated.
Born in Vietnam of a French mother and an Italian father, Mr. Cocciante was raised in Rome from age 11. His first hit single “Bella Senz’anima” was taken from the “Anima” album arranged by famous composer Ennio Morricone. The album rose to number 1 in Italy, Spain and South America.
Building on this success, Mr. Cocciante recorded his “Concerto for Hargherita” with Academy Award winner Vangelis. The title song become one of his biggest international hits, spreading his fame to France. More number 1 hits followed in France (“Le Coup de Soleil”) and Italy (“Cervo a Primavera.”)
In 1982 Mr. Cocciante came to the United States to record with famed producer James Newton Howard. From this collaboration, the song “Sincerite” became a hit all over Europe. It was followed by “L’Homme Qui Vole,” an album recorded in London which marked Mr. Cocciante’s first collaboration with the lyricist Luc Plamondon.
The late 1980’s found Mr. Cocciante in Miami, concentrating on hie Latin American career. In 1991 he returned to Italy, where his song “Se Stiamo Ensieme” won 1st prize at the prestigious San Remo Festival. That year he also composed “L’amour Existe Encour” for Celine Dion, with lyrics by Mr. Plamondon. In 1992 he recorded the part of Chopin in the studio version of the musical “George Sand et les Romantiques.”
Between 1993 and 1997, Mr. Cocciante recorded two new best-selling albums in France and Italy, and released a series of “greatest hits” albums worldwide. He also performed the Randy Newman song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” on the Italian release of Disney’s worldwide animated hit film “toy Story.” He performed his own composition for Franco Zeffirelli’s film “Sparrow.” In 1997 he was honored to perform “The Pagan Ave Maria” from Notre Dame de Paris before Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, and he joined Placido Domingo in the traditional Vienna Christmas Concert televised worldwide.
For his cultural accomplishments, Mr. Cocciante was recently honored with Italy’s highest distinction: the Grande Ufficiale della Republica Italiana.
Grammy and Academy Award-winning songwriter Will Jennings has written for an amazing variety of recording artists over his twenty-eight year career in the music business. From English rock stars Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton to blues legend B.B. King and jazz legend Joe Sample, from beach troubadour Jimmy Buffet to American rock icon Roy Orbison, Mr. Jennings has written with and for many of the major stars on the world music scene.
With Joe Sample, Jennings wrote “Street Life” and several songs for various albums by the Crusaders for guest vocalists, including Joe Cocker, Bill Withers, and Nancy Wilson. Jennings and Sample also wrote the better part of three albums for B.B. King.
Jennings has written several songs for films, the most notable being “Up Where We Belong,” with Jack Nitzche and Buffy St. Marie for An Officer And A Gentleman, which won the Academy Award in both America and England for the songwriters and “My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from “Titanic”),” written with composer James Horner and sung by Celine Dion, which won the 1998 Golden Globe, the 1998 Academy Award and two 1998 Grammy Awards. “My Heart Will Go On” has been number one in almost every country in the world, powering the sales of the “Titanic” soundtrack album and Celine Dion’s “Let’s Talk About Love” album to combined sales of over forty million CDs. Among his many Nashville hits is “Please Remember Me,” a number one country hit for Tim McGraw in 1999.
Jennings wrote “Tears In Heaven” with Eric Clapton, which won a Grammy in 1993 for Song Of The Year and also won the Ivor Novello award (the British Grammy) for best song from a film. In 1998 Jennings was asked by Luc Plamondon to do the English language translation/recreation of the Plamondon/Cocciante Notre Dame de Paris, the biggest musical in the history of France. The world premiere performance of Mr. Jennings’ adaptation is taking place at Paris Las Vegas. New recordings include Celine Dion’s “Then You Look At Me” (written with James Horner) from the film Bicentennial Man (December 1999), and Celine’s version of “Live For The One I Love” (“Vivre”) from the English language version of Notre Dame de Paris, both recordings on the Celine Dion Greatest Hits album which was #1 throughout the world.
Born in 1948 in Montreal, Gilles Maheu, multidisciplinary artist, is an actor, author, director, choreographer, and art director. In 1980, he founded and became the artistic director of Carbone 14 in Montreal, the internationally admired theatrical and performance art company. In March 1995 the Carbone 14 opened a new theatrical space, Usine C, a 500-seat theatre, the most important avant-garde place in Montreal. For the last 20 years, Gilles Maheu and his group Carbone 14 have toured successfully in 26 countries and have won more than thirty national and international awards. In 1985, Gilles Maheu received the award for the best art direction for The Rail and in 1987, the award for the best stage conception for Hamlet-Machine at the Theatre Festival of the Americas.
In 1990, Le Dortoir won him the award for best choreography at the 11th Dora Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto, as well as the special award of the critiques Circle of the Capital (Ottawa). In 1991, Mr. Maheu received the Gold Fipa, in New York, for the movie Le Dortoir.
The Theatre Critics Association of Quebec in 1990 also awarded him a special honor for his experimental journey that marked the 80’s. In 1992, Gilles Maheu and Carbone 14 received the Prix du Gouveneur General for the Stage Arts. In 1995, the Art Council of the urban community of Montreal gave its Grand Prix to Carbone 14 for the entirety of their work, for its exceptional gift to the theatrical life in Montreal and for the international fame that it acquired. In 1997, Maheu won the Mask of the Best Theatrical Production in Quebec with Les Ames Mortes.
Currently, his extraordinary vision can be seen throughout Notre Dame de Paris, as he sets forth a blueprint to 21st century theatre. Notre Dame de Paris has already won more than twenty International Awards, including several which recognize Mr. Maheu’s work – the prize for Best Musical Spectacular during the XIVth Victoires de la Musique in Paris, as well as the prize for best directing and best show at the Gala of the ADISQ 1999 in Montreal.
Martino Müller was born in German Switzerland 36 years ago. He studied ballet at the Theatertanzschule of St. Gallen. In 1982, he won the Swiss Award at the International Competition of Lausanne. His artistry began at the Staatstheatre of Karlsruhe where he spent many hours crafting his skills as a dancer. Later, he would join the Stuttgart Ballet for a two year term.
For nine years he danced with the Nederlands Dans Theatre, which was directed by Jiri Kylian. It was with that company in 1992 that he received his first opportunity to choreograph. His choreography Who’s Watching Who? earned him an Award from the Foundation of the Arts of Amsterdam. Mr Müller received numerous honors including the Jacob Burckhart Award for Goethe-Stigfung in Bale.
It was in 1995 that Mr. Müller turned in his dancing shoes. Since then, he has focused his talents strictly on choreography. Working exclusively for the Donau Ballet, the Ballet of the National Opera of Lyon, The Ballet of Berne, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Komische Opera Berlin, the BalletMet Columbus, the Goteborg Ballet and most recently, the spectacular Notre Dame de Paris, for which he has created a stunning dance style which combines modern, street, classical and acrobatic choreography.