M. Philippe Debat
1973 - 1999
Born in 1931, in Toulon, Philippe Debat completed his musical studies in Paris: harmony, counterpoint, piano, organ and direction in the Schola Cantorum, then musicology at the Superior National Academy of Music (class of Mr Norbert Dufourcq) where he graduated major in 1954.
He created his first choir in Paris in 1949, “The Little Singers of Sainte-Croix” later patronized by the Republic President, Mr René Coty, for whose funeral the Choir sang, in 1962. In 1960, the young formation won the First Prize of Excellency at the French Choirs National Competition. In 1963, it sung for Jean Cocteau’s funeral, and performed at the Champs-Elysées Theatre, the “Répons de Semaine Sainte” the first European recital of Francis Poulenc.
The Choir was installed in boarding-school from 1956 to 1973. It recorded the Requiem of Mozart in 1958, and a very larger number of concerts took place in Paris, mostly in the Champs-Elysées Theatre: the Saint John Passion of Bach, the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré and Mozart. At the same time an important activity with concerts in foreign countries led this Parisian choir to many countries.
Philippe Debat, an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters, was appointed Chapel Master of Monaco’s Cathedral in 1973. H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, appointed him Chapel Master of the Palace Chapel of the Prince, in 1994.
Philippe Debat funded “The Little Singers of Monaco”, in 1974. A children choir within the Cathedral’s Choir whose activity was placed under the High Patronage of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and who were entrusted with a new mission: contributing to the spiritual and artistic radiance of the Principality by way of their various concerts tours (more than thirty countries have been visited).
Throughout his 25 years in Monaco, Philippe Debat was ever committed to leading his Choir with enthusiasm into the beginning of the XXIst Century. He succumbed to a sudden illness on the 21st of April of 1999.