By: Cathy Strini
Every Neighborhood Spotlight participant has been unique.. but so incredibly inspiring! This month’s feature, Anaïs de la Morandais, kept up that trend! Originally hailing from France, Anaïs has studied and taught music in several European countries, but (lucky for us South Bay-ers) has chosen to settle right here in Golden Hills.
Anaïs was gracious enough to welcome us into her newly renovated home, give us a tour, tell us about her life and even play for us on the piano (Check out the video below!). On first impression, Anaïs is poised and charming, but as we chatted we were soon able to catch a glimpse of her fun sense of humor and passion for music!
Growing up a harpist and a pianist, Anaïs eventually realized and decided to pursue her love for choral conducting. With a Master of Arts in choral conducting from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and a Maîtrise of Musicology from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes, France, Anaïs has the education to match her passion. While she works primarily with children, Anaïs has taught men and women of all ages throughout her career. From leading workshops on physical body training in support of the voice, to teaching youth choirs the basics of rhythm, Anaïs has experience in all realms of the musical world.
Since her arrival to California (barely a year ago!) Anaïs has wasted no time in establishing herself and finding ways to share her passion for music with the local communities. As stated on her website, Anaïs first created the Santa Monica Youth Choir, then served as the Choir Program Director where she taught “voice, music theory, and ear training while combining various methods in vocal technique, percussion, art, and memorization”. An ode to her French background, Anaïs has founded several Francophile groups, for both children and adults (details below for anyone interested in attending!) This past December, Anaïs founded Atelier Musical in an effort provide music education services to Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and all areas in between. She offers piano lessons and vocal technique lessons, as well as French language support for students.
Check out the Atelier Musical website to learn more about the individually tailored lessons available! Read on to discover more about Anaïs …
1. How did you get involved in music and what instruments do you play / have played?
I’ve always wanted to play music since I was 2 years old. I started with piano and the celtic harp when i was 6. And I sang quite a bit in choir and at school. Then I chose to play trombone in middle school and discovered choir conducting in college. That is when I decided to become a choir conductor.
2. What brought you to California and what have you been up to since you moved here?
I met my husband in India when I was travelling. At the time, I was studying music in Austria, and I moved to be with him in Santa Monica after I received my master degree. I created a choir program for Santa Monica Youth Orchestra in 2014 that I led for one and half year before we moved to the Golden Hills of Redondo Beach. I wanted to serve more the local community so I created my own enterprise called Atelier Musical Inc., where I teach voice and piano lessons in the area. But I still do many projects in Venice Beach, Mar Vista, Beverly Hills and at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes
Another project of mine is called Enchantés – the only French Vocal Ensemble in L.A. I created it a year ago and our second performance is already coming up! Rehearsals are 7:30 to 9pm on Tuesdays. (*More info below!*)
Mélodies and Do Ré Mi are two french children choirs and the music is in French as if you were in Paris. Both are held at the French Conservatory of Music and at the French Exchange After School program.
I also have several private students from ages 4 to 15 enrolled in piano and voice lessons.
3. Tell us a little about your experience with children and how you started working with them:
I love music and can’t help sharing this passion with others. With very little money to support myself through college, I worked hard and paid for my studies teaching music to kids. I was just 17 and have been teaching since then!
4. How is the South Bay (Redondo in particular) unique from everywhere else you have lived?
Since it is a safe area, I find the South Bay to be the perfect family-oriented community. It is both quiet and friendly. We know many of our neighbors, and it makes me feel special to be in such a close-knit neighborhood.
5. How do you plan on incorporating the local community as your business expands?
Since I’ve created Atelier Musical, my goal is to be able to work in the area that I reside. I mostly bike to my clients and that is such a pleasure! I hope in the next months, I will be able to create a vocal group for the South Bay and maybe incorporate French and German into the music! Since I speak both languages fluently, this would be a great opportunity for singers to practice a language they learned at school.
6. What is your favorite song to perform on the piano and why?
I love to play classical music. At the moment, I am having tremendous fun working on a Gigue of Scarlatti. This music is so joyful and exciting to play!
7. What lessons/programs do you offer for children?
I offer 30 min, 45 min, or one hour private or semi-private classes in Piano and Vocal Technique. All the lessons are available in English, French or German.
The group lessons are part of my choir programs like Enchantés (for Adults and teenagers), and Mélodies and Do Ré Mi (for kids).
*For clients that mention “What’s up Redondo” and who live in the Golden Hills area, Anais will waive her transportation fee and charge only $35 instead of $45 for a 30 min. lesson. Or $50 instead of $60 for 45 min. lesson. And of course, the first lesson is always free.*
“Enchantés is an exciting francophile group meeting once a week to speak french and sing beautiful masterpieces from renaissance to contemporary repertoire, including French “chansons” and traditional folk music. Every season, we have a specific theme and one or two performances for the public. Located in Los Angeles/Santa Monica Area, this choir is for 16+ years of age. $10 suggested donation/class. Enchantés. Students and adults. Tuesdays 7:30-9 PM.”
“In September 2015, Anaïs launched a children French choir at the French conservatory of Music of Los Angeles. Specifically designed for bi-lingual children, Mélodies is a perfect weekly meeting for music initiation in French. Students explore the vast repertoire of french melodies composed for children as they would at the Conservatory in Paris! Mélodies. French Conservatory of Music. Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 PM.”