21 June 2021
Music as a raison d'être
Claude-Michel Schönberg, Grande Ecole 1967, Composer
When the world-renowned composer welcomes us to his Chelsea home, his frustration is palpable. We meet during a phase of respite between two lockdowns, but theatres remain closed and he admits to being as restless as a caged tiger.
If I’d have felt tired or if success had started to fade, now would be a good time to call it a day. But last year was one of the best years I’ve ever had!
At 76, Claude-Michel Schönberg still has new shows to bring to the stage, and productions to oversee on all continents. He is an accomplished and revered artist, so it is intriguing to find out exactly what it is that still keeps him going. He wrote a song which has sold over one million copies.
He composed Les Misérables – the longest-running musical in the West End (the second longest worldwide), which critics have often cited as one of the greatest musicals ever made. His shows have been produced on Broadway and on hundreds of stages over the world. He has received a Golden Globe, been nominated for an Oscar, and has won every possible accolade in the industry including the Laurence Olivier, Tony and Grammy awards. Millions of people have been moved to tears by his music, and one of his songs has become a protest anthem for oppressed people around the world.
But it is not money, fame, or the desire to leave his mark and change the world that drives Schönberg. In the course of this interview, we discover a man wholly consumed by the need to create music, who confesses that he had little merit in choosing his career, because music is the only way he knows how to live.
To mark Audencia’s 120th anniversary in 2020, we have launched our very first iconic alumni collection. Each year we will showcase the amazingly diverse profiles and career paths of Audencians from around the globe. The ten alumni that you will discover in the following pages have very generously given up their time for an interview with fellow alumna, Katia Hérault (GE 2001), for which we are immensely grateful.
Discover the first 10 iconic alumni portraits here