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Musical World

Jean-Guihen Queyras

  • Cellist


Jean-Guihen Queyras’s extensive repertoire incorporates contemporary works, which he performs internationally: he gave the world premieres of Ivan Fedele’s cello concerto (Orchestre National de France, Leonard Slatkin) and Gilbert Amy’s concerto (Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, Tokyo).He also premiered Bruno Mantovani’s concerto with the Saarbrücken Radio Sinfonieorchester and Phillippe Schoeller’s Wind’s Eyes with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg.The last three appear together on Cello Concertos of the 21st Century.

His particular focus on repertoire for solo cello, which articulately demonstrates the exceptional narrative and expressive force of the monodic instrument, led him to devise and perform several series of concerts featuring the Suites by J.S Bach alongside contemporary works. He performed these at the Triphony Hall in Tokyo and the Théâtre du Châtelet.He also commissioned six composers (Kurtag, Harvey, Mochizuki, Amy, Nodaïra & Fedele) to write an ‘echo’ to each of the six Bach Suites for solo cello, in a project called ‘Six Suites, Six Echos’, which he has performed in such prestigious venues as the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Hamburg’s Musikhalle and the Cité de la Musique in Paris.

In 2008, Jean-Guihen made his BBC PROMS debut to unanimous acclaim (Haydn in C) and performed Britten’s Symphony for cello and orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival. He has been invited as a resident artist of the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and De Bijloke in Gent.Regular chamber music partners include the pianists Alexander Melnikov and Alexandre Tharaud and the violinist Isabelle Faust.He is a member of the Arcanto Quartet with Tabea Zimmermann, Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec, and performs regularly with Zarb specialists Kevan and Bijan Chemirani.

His solo engagements with orchestras include the Philharmonia, Orchestre de Paris, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Zürich, Gewandhaus orchestra, Radio-Sinfoniorchester Saarbrücken, SWR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden/Freiburg, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra,Prague Philharmonia, Berlin Konzerhaus orchestra, Radiosinfonieorchester Wien, Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande, Münich Chamber Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, DeFhilharmonie Antwerpens, Sao Paulo State Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Heinz Holliger, Franz Brüggen, Günther Herbig, Günther Herbig, Gerd Albrecht, Ivan Fisher, Hans Graf, Philippe Herreweghe, Marek Janowski, Denis Russell Davies, Jiří Bělohlávek, Ed Gardner, David Stern, Leonard Slatkin, Olivier Knussen, Roger Norrington, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Muhaï Tang, John Neschling and Andras Ligeti.Jean-Guihen made his debut in the main hall at Carnegie Hall in New York with Concerto Köln in March 2004.

Jean-Guihen was the solo cellist of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with whom he recorded the Ligeti Cello Concerto for Deutsche Grammophon, conducted by Pierre Boulez (Gramophone Contemporary Music Award). For harmonia mundihe also released Britten’s suites for solo cello and a collection of Hungarian works by Kodaly, Kurtag and Veress, which was awarded a Diapason d’Or.Jean-Guihen has also recorded Dutilleux’s Tout un Monde Lointain for Arte Nova/BMGand Boulez’s Messagesquisse for Deutsche Grammophon(Gramophone Contemporary Music Award).

In November 2002, Jean-Guihen Queyras received the City of Toronto Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music, awarded to him by Pierre Boulez and the Glenn Gould Foundation, and was recently made ‘Instrumental Soloist of the Year’ at the French Classical Music Awards as well as ‘Artist of the Year’ for readers of the Diapason magazine.

Jean-Guihen Queyras is Professor at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany and one of the Artistic Directors of the ‘Rencontres Musicales de Haute-Provence’ which take place in Forcalquier in July each year.