Gérard Caussé

Chamber music

Gérard Caussé

Gérard Caussé is acclaimed worldwide as one of the great virtuosos of his instrument and is one of the few musicians since William Primrose to have given the viola its freedom as a solo instrument in its own right. He received international recognition in the mid-1970s as a founder member and principal viola of the Ensemble Intercontemporain and violist of the Via Nova Quartet, then of the Parrenin Quartet. After a crucial encounter with Gidon Kremer, he chose to divide his time between chamber music and solo appearances.

He is a regular guest with the leading Eu- ropean orchestras, in Asia, and even in South America, in a very wide repertoire ranging from the Baroque to Berlioz, Bruch, Bartók, Stravinsky, Britten, Walton and Martinů, by way of Mozart, who in his opinion was the first composer to understand the viola’s role as arbiter. He has also dedicated himself to expanding the repertoire of his instrument, and numerous composers have written for him, among them Gérard Masson, René Koering, Griffith Rose, Alain Féron, Gérard Grisey, Emmanuel Nunes, Jacques Lenot, Michael Jarrell, Philippe Hersant, Michaël Levinas, Pascal Dusapin, Hugues Dufourt, Betsy Jolas, and Michèle Reverdy. He recently premiered Wolfgang Rihm’s Double Concerto for viola and clarinet with the Orchestre National de France, alongside Michel Portal. From 2002 to 2004 he was artistic director of the Orchestre de Chambre National de Toulouse, with which he appeared as conductor and soloist. In 2005, at the invitation of the Caja Duero Foundation of Salamanca, he founded and became director of La Camerata, composed of young musicians. His work with them is intended to offer an experimental approach to the full range of repertoires, spread over a season and culminating in the Florilegio in July, which is renewed each year.

Gérard Caussé has performed and recorded with such artists as Gidon Kremer, Renaud Capuçon, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, François-René Duchâble, Frank Braley, Nicholas Angelich, Jean-Philippe Collard, Valery Afanassiev, Brigitte Engerer, Michel Portal, Paul Meyer, Gautier Capuçon, Gary Hoffmann, and the Hagen and Modigliani Quartets.

Among the many conductors he has worked with are Charles Dutoit, John Eliot Gardiner, Marc Minkowski, Philippe Herreweghe, Emmanuel Krivine, Yutaka Sado, Marek Janowski, Pierre Boulez, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Luciano Berio, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Michel Plasson, John Nelson, David Robertson, Peter Eötvös, Kent Nagano, Lior Shambadal, Armin Jordan, Kees Bakels, Ion Marin, Yoel Levi, John Neschling, Roger Norrington, Krzysztof Penderecki, Pascal Rophé, Pedro Halffter, Philippe Bender, James Conlon, Theodor Guschlbauer, and Jonathan Schiffmann.

His discography includes some sixty recordings for labels like EMI, Erato, Philips, Teldec, Virgin Classics, harmonia mundi, and Deutsche Grammophon. His most recent releases include Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet for Virgin Classics with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and Frank Braley; the complete Brahms piano quartets with Nicholas Angelich and the Capuçon brothers; works by Hindemith and Levinas for Aeon; music by Bloch with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; and a recording of Hugues Dufourt’s concerto Le Cyprès blanc with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra for the Timpani label which won a Diapason d’Or. His CD of Berlioz’s Harold en Italie with John Eliot Gar- diner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique was unanimously acclaimed by critics all over the world. He is currently preparing a recording of the six Bach Suites.

Gérard Caussé is in charge of a viola class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. He is director of the Florilegio music festival and the orchestra of the Caja Duero Foundation in Salamanca. He gives master- classes in Salzburg and at the Escuela Reina Sofia in Madrid (where he held a professorship for ten years), the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, the Verbier Festival, and the Académie de Villecroze.

Gérard Caussé plays a magnificent Gasparo da Salò viola of 1560, one of the gems of the Brescia school, which he chose for its irresistible baritone timbre, perfectly suited to his personal quest.

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