INTERVIEW TO MADAME IRÈNE MAURIAT
by Mr. Dmitry Zhoukov, 2012
Many, many thanks to Dmitry Zhoukov for providing me this interview!
Question: Could you say how many musicians from the Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra are present today in J.J. Justafré's orchestra? What about the other musicians, did they refuse or were they not invited ?
Irène Mauriat: It's not for me to talk about how Mr. Justafré makes up his orchestra. However, fans can observe that the majority of the musicians in Mr. Justafré's orchestra never played with Paul Mauriat.
Question: Some Russian journalists and fans find it hard to understand exactly what Mme Mauriat reproaches Jean Jacques Justafré and his promoters with. Are the issues financial? If not, what is the problem ?
Irène Mauriat: It's very simple. Mr. Justafré's advertising says that his orchestra was founded by Paul Mauriat… This is quite simply untrue. Mr. Justafré is regularly presented as having «taken over» Paul Mauriat's orchestra. Even recently, I heard Mr. Justafré being interviewed on Russian radio, where he was presented as the conductor of the «Paul Mauriat – Jean-Jacques Justafré Grand Orchestra» ! The interviewer repeated this phrase several times during the interview, and Mr. Justafré never corrected him, although he knows that there is no such orchestra. I repeat again that Mr. Justafré's orchestra has no link with the Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra.
Mr. Justafré has founded his own orchestra, which in fact does not play Paul Mauriat's original music. They play melodies which my husband made famous through his unique arrangements. Their arrangements and style are obviously very different from my husband's.
Once again, I want to say that I'm always very happy that different musicians and orchestras pay tribute to Paul Mauriat, I encourage all initiatives. It's something that's done for many great artists, and it's a very positive thing. But – to take an example that everyone can understand – when there are tribute shows to the Beatles, nobody is fooled, the public understands exactly what it is. Of course it's not a financial problem, but a problem of identity and basic honesty.
Question: The situation in Russia regarding composers' rights and royalties is sometimes quite complicated. If J.J. Justafré is aware of these problems we're talking about, why did he nonetheless undertake this new tour ?
Irène Mauriat: For me, there's no problem with the rights and royalties from my husband's compositions. When his music is played, the royalties go through the usual official process, as long as the composers' rights organizations in different countries co-operate efficiently. It is my wish that my husband's music should be played by all kinds of orchestras, there's no difficulty with this.
The problem with Mr. Justafré's orchestra is that it is identified with Paul Mauriat's orchestra. This is not a question of royalties, but of identity, as I already said. It's a fundamental issue. Nobody has the right to usurp another person's identity, or to pretend to be a "successor" following the death of a great artist who enjoyed worldwide popularity. Such methods are unworthy.
Question: Maestro Paul Mauriat composed more than 150 pieces. J.J. Justafré plays one or two of these compositions in his programs. Do you think that other artists can pay tribute to Paul Mauriat as a composer, and play his works in concert ?
Irène Mauriat: But of course! I repeat, I hope that many musicians and orchestras will play my husband's music in the future. I only ask that they present themselves to the public with their own identity, and not as a kind of fake copy of the original. Most artists claim this principle for themselves. Every true artist is by definition unique!