Jean-Guihen Queyras

Biography

Jean-Guihen Queyras enjoys an enviable reputation as a musician of exceptional versatility and integrity. His musical horizons are seemingly boundless and he is in great demand both as a soloist with international orchestras and conductors, a chamber musician and as a solo performer.

He has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras including the Philharmonia, Orchestre de Paris, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zurich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande and Netherlands Philharmonic under the baton of conductors such as Franz Brüggen, Günther Herbig, Ivan Fischer, Philippe Herreweghe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jiri Belohlavek, Olivier Knussen and Sir Roger Norrington. He is a regular soloist with several early music ensembles such as Freiburg Baroque and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York with Concerto Köln in March 2004.

Jean-Guihen is frequently asked to host artistic residencies. These have included projects in the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and De Bijloke in Gent. He was “Artist in Residence” with the Hamburg-based chamber orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, with whom he led and played several eclectic programmes in the Laieszhalle Hamburg, Köln Philharmonie, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord Paris, the Konzerthaus Wien and the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam.

Highlights of the forthcoming season include performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Jean-Guihen will be taking part in a major Schumann project with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Pablo Heras-Casado, throughout Europe. He will also be “Artist in Residence” with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra during the 13/14 season.  Equally hailed for his landmark solo Bach recitals, Jean-Guihen will perform throughout Europe, the US and Japan in the 13/14 season.

Jean-Guihen is an enthusiastic exponent of contemporary music and is committed to expanding the repertoire boundaries of his instrument. He had a longstanding relationship with the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris and regularly collaborates with composers such as Bruno Mantovani, Jörg Widmann and Pierre Boulez. He has premiered Michael Jarrel’s concerto as well as Johannes-Maria Staud’s concerto, which he premiered in the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Musikverein Wien in 2010 and has subsequently performed at the Salzburg Festival.

He made his BBC Proms debut to unanimous acclaim in 2008 and appears often at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals and at the Wigmore Hall. His regular chamber music partners include the pianists Alexandre Tharaud and Alexander Melnikov and the violinist Isabelle Faust. He is a member of the Arcanto Quartet with Tabea Zimmermann, Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec, and also performs with Zarb specialists Kevan and Bijan Chemirani.

Jean-Guihen has made several successful recordings for harmonia mundi and, following the success of his much anticipated recording of Bach’s complete solo Suites in 2008 for which he received immediate acclaim (Diapason d’Or and CD of the Year in Diapason, CHOC du Monde de la Musique etc) and his nominations as Soloist of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique and Artist of the Year of Diapason’s readers in 2009, he has released three further recordings; a Debussy-Poulenc CD with pianist Alexandre Tharaud, Cello Concertos of the 21st Century and, most recently, Vivaldi Cello Concerti with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Previous CDs include Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ alongside works by Berg and Webern, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the Prague Philharmonia under the baton of Jiri Belohlavek) and Haydn and Monn’s Cello Concertos performed on a period instrument with the Freiburger Barockorchester, praised in both the Independent on Sunday and the Saturday Telegraph as the definitive baroque version.

Jean-Guihen plays a cello made by Gioffredo Cappa in 1696, on loan from Mécénat Musical Société Générale since November 2005. He is a professor at the Musikhochschule Freiburg.

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  • BACH
    Cello Suite No.3

Schedule

Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence

Messiaen - Quartet for The End of Time

Antje Weithaas, Violin
Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello
Florent Boffard, Piano
Jorg Widmann, Clarinet

Antje Weithaas violon
Jörg Widmann clarinette
Jean-Guihen Queyras violoncelle
Florent Boffard piano - See more at: http://www.festival-piano.com/index.php?id=17&cal1_date=082014&date=2014-08-04#sthash.bm6l6iXT.dp
Antje Weithaas violon
Jörg Widmann clarinette
Jean-Guihen Queyras violoncelle
Florent Boffard piano - See more at: http://www.festival-piano.com/index.php?id=17&cal1_date=082014&date=2014-08-04#sthash.bm6l6iXT.dpuf

Ruhr Triennale, Essen

Ivan Fedele: Arc en ciel
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 1 G-Dur BWV 1007
Gilbert Amy: En-Suite
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 4 Es-Dur BWV 1010
***
György Kurtag: "Az Hit...", "Pylinsky Janos...", "Arnyak'
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 3 C-Dur BWV 1009
Misato Mochizuki: pre-echo
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 5 c-moll BWV 1011
***
Jonathan Harvey: pre-echo
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 2 d-moll BWV 1008
Ichiro Nodaira: pre-echo
Bach: Suite für Violoncello Solo Nr. 6 D-Dur WVV 1012

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello

Beethovenhalle, Bonn

Beethoven: Triple Concerto
Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Isabelle Faust, violin
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello
Kristian Bezuidenhout, piano

Oji Hall, Tokyo

Domenico Gabrielli : Ricercare (from 7 Ricercari for Solo Cello)   
Luciano Berio : Sequenza XIV for Solo Cello [13’]
Auguste-Joseph Franchomme : Caprice No.4 from 12 Caprice, Op.7
Frédéric Chopin : Etude in Ab major Op. 25-1 (arr.Cassado)
Gaspar Cassadó : Suite for Solo Cello
- Interval -
Henri Dutilleux: Trois Strophes sur le Nom de SACHER
Paul Hindemith : Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 25-3
Krzysztof Penderecki : Capriccio per Siegfried Palm 
Hindemith : Sonata for Solo Cello Op.25-3

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello

Cité de la Musique, Paris

Beethoven - Cello Sonata No.1 Op.5
Beethoven - Cello Sonata No.2 Op.5
- Interval -
Beethoven - 7 Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen
Beethoven - Cello Sonata No.3 Op.69

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello

Alexander Melnikov, Piano

Cité de la Musique, Paris

Beethoven - 12 Variations on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" in F Major op. 66
Beethoven - Cello Sonata No. 4 op. 102
- Interval -
Beethoven - 12 Variations on "See the conquering hero comes" in G Major
Beethoven - Cello Sonata No. 5 op. 102 No. 2

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello
Alexander Melnikov, Piano

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Press

Dutilleux

Tout un Monde Lointain: 26 October 2013

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall London

**** The rarefied playing of cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras...His sophisticated imagination and virtuosity sensed out the ubiquitous inspiration of Baudelaire's verse. Hilary Finch, The Times
Jean Guihen Queyras, the thoughtful soloist, paid close attention to quality of tone at all times...Queyras’s intonation in the high terrain of ‘Gaze’ was admirably secure, while the central section of Dutilleux’s arch form, ‘Surges’, harnessed more of the orchestra’s inner power, with a commanding but clean sound. Ben Hogwood, ClassicalSource
***** Jean-Guihen Queyras showed that he had perfect control over his instrument, and seemed to relish the opportunity to play not only some of the piece’s stunning melodies, but also its moments of more angular pizzicato... Queyras’s playing has a uniquely warm sound and perfect technique.
Renée Reitsma, BachTrack

Elgar & Tchaikovsky

harmonia mundi CD: Cello Concerti

BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jiří Bělohlávek

*****Queyras has his own style and ideas and there are many passages here where you can experience his blend of mature, deeply felt insight into the music’s autumnal tone and his personal, luminous approach to it.

Technically, the performance is a marvel. The mellow timbre of his 1696 Gioffredo Cappa instrument is a pure joy. But allied to that, with orchestral playing of wisdom and idiomatic acumen under Jiří Bělohlávek, there is the sense that Queyras has made this recording through genuine love and perception of the Elgarian language.

With Dvořák’s Rondo and Silent Woods as points of eloquent repose – “a refreshing plunge into tender poetry, touched by grace”, as Queyras says – the main coupling here is Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, done in the bowdlerised but customarily performed version by Wilhelm Fitzenhagen. Classical poise, Romantic lyricism and lively, scintillating bravura coalesce to a magical degree here in a performance that is as thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Tchaikovsky as the Elgar is with Elgar’s. When it comes to mulling over discs of the year, this one will be a definite front-runner. Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph
I'm a fervent admirer of French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, particularly for the incredibly neat, compact and refined quality of his playing, elements that here bring an aura of sophistication and tremendous intellectual integrity to his new recording of the piece, with Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in immaculately responsive and sympathetic accompaniment. Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland
**** Recording the Elgar Concerto is always a major statement for a cellist, and the Canadian-born French soloist Jean-Guihen Queyras is no exception as his account joins the E section on the already buckling shelf. Undeterred by others’ famous recordings, though, he presents very much his own view of this much-loved work.

Queyras probes the concerto’s melancholy extremes without indulging in histrionics, sometimes whispering his pianissimos virtually without vibrato (admittedly this effect is rather on-trend at present, but he makes it relatively convincing). The BBCSO, much on home turf, seem in their element, with Bělohlávek striking a good balance and leading a rounded, focused interpretation.

The performers find an ideal bridge from Britain towards Russia in two short works full of Dvořák’s gentle Czech wistfulness, before launching into the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations – which, if anything, succeeds even better than the Elgar. Queyras has apparently detected ‘a fascinating mirror effect’ in this programme, by which each composer is ‘playing on contrasts to elucidate his intentions’. With cellist and orchestra alike focusing on the notion of contrast, the results are suitably lively and colourful. The total impression not only sparkles with virtuosity but engages us with crucial charm, and and that vivid yet not overstated individuality. Jessica Duchen, Sinfini Music

Haydn

Concerto in C Major: 11 March 2012

LA Chamber Orchestra/Hugh Wolff, Piatigorsky Festival, Los Angeles

In contrast, Jean-Guihen Queyras’ fresh, alert and original performance of the earlier C Major concerto was, I thought, the highlight of the evening. The French cellist’s tone is light and fragrant. He plays with not only a sense of pert 18th century style but also a modernity as if this were music newly composed. Perhaps that is because Queyras also pays attention to new music; it was a shame that he was not asked to play one of the interesting contemporary concertos he has premiered elsewhere. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Jarrell

Cello Concerto - World Premiere: 3 February 2012

Utah Symphony Orchestra/Thierry Fischer, Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City

'Emergencies' is a sonically adventurous, highly virtuosic work, and French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras was more than equal to the task. The soloist handled everything Jarrell tossed at him - extensive harmonics, two-handed pizzicato and other unusual techniques - with consummate command. Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune
Jean-Guihen Queyras did a spectacular job with his extremely virtuosic part. His playing was vibrant and made the music come alive. Edward Reichel, Reichel Recommends

Vivaldi

Cello Concerti: 25 October 2011

Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin, Berlin Philharmonie

Queyras soloed in five concertos, playing a spikeless cello with a pointy Baroque bow. His performance was spotless. In the Cello Concertos in F major (RV 412), G minor (RV 416), and A minor (RV 419), he showed just how freely a soloist can play when totally unencumbered by technical difficulty: rubatos dictated by the musical rhetoric, bravura ascending runs in 16ths that took flight, earthy stabs of the bow at the hell in rapid string-crossing, and big virtuoso cadences ending with the whole bow in an up bow. In the solo movements the melodies rang out with unforced purity...Beautifully refined playing like this, unpretentious and so relaxed, takes years of training and experience to achieve...Always precise, with an ear for colours and textures (and the occasional improvisando flourish), this is exactly how Vivaldi should be played. Mai Kawabata, Allthingsstrings.com

Duo Recital: 30 August 2011

Alexandre Tharaud (Piano), Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

**** In Kodály's demanding Sonata for Solo Cello Op 8, Jean-Guihen Queyras more than rose to the occasion with his virtuosic account of music heavily infused with the biting rhythms of Hungarian folksong tradition. Susan Nickalls, Edinburgh-Festivals.com
****In an astonishing display of musicianship and virtuosity at the Queen's Hall yesterday morning, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras demonstrated a comprehensive and multi-faceted mastery of his art. His powers of musical characterisation are limitless. Certainly I do not think I have heard such a probing interpretation of Debussy's flawless Cello Sonata. Queyras unfolded revelation upon revelation in an astoundingly characterised account of the piece that captured every quirky detail of the music, steering flawlessly through its mercurial shifts of mood and soaring through a finale that felt completely liberated from convention.
At the other end of the programme the two musicians were equally at ease with the lightening-fast changes of mood and temperament in Poulenc's wonderful Cello Sonata, typically abrupt in its juxtapositions, and tumbling from rich, soupy sentiment and cartoon-like capers into pure musical acrobatics, all dispatched with dexterity and wit.
At the heart of the programme lay a gripping performance of Kodaly's huge Sonata for solo cello, which had audience, BBC technicians and all manner of critics grinning inanely, gasping in disbelief, and all asking the same question, 'how did you do that?'
The Sonata is a fearsomely intense piece, fuelled by the earthy tang of Hungarian folk music and a wonderful feeling of rhapsody. But it is also immensely sophisticated, as Queyras demonstrated in a fantastic performance of unflinching concentration.
And in its finale, the cellist went off like a rocket, creating an amazing illusion of first two, then three musicians playing simultaneously. How did he do it? Dazzling stuff.
Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland

Dvorak

Cello Concerto: 20 July 2011

BBC PROMS, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Belohlavek, Royal Albert Hall, London

**** Jean-Guihen Queyras was the appealingly direct soloist, beautifully capturing the deep veins of sadness that run through the last two movements. As an encore, Queyras played the Sarabande from Bach's Second Cello Suite, a moment of extraordinary intimacy, in which time seemed to stand still. Tim Ashley, The Guardian
**** Belohlávek and the soloist, Jean-Guihen Queyras, brought to Dvorák's Cello Concerto a captivatingly wistful quality, allowing themselves at times a quite daring amount of expressive freedom. Barry Millington, Evening Standard
**** There's a wonderful poise and balance about everything Queyras does, with no rhetorical exaggeration. His playing reached a pitch of refinement at that touching moment in the middle movement, where the cello and a handful of orchestral players seem to be improvising together. The moment can easily come adrift, but here it had just the right balance of discipline and freedom. Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraphy

Haydn

Cello Concerto in C: 5 May 2011

Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Olari Elts, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Stealing the spotlight was cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras who, along with his beautiful Gioffredo Cappa 1696 cello, dominated the stage with his fiery and charming performance of Haydn’s C major concerto. Catherine Robb, The Herald

Dutilleux

Tout un Monde Lointain: 17 June 2010

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Jean-Guihen Queyras was the elegant cello soloist, his tones urbane and mellow, his articulation sparkling, and Nott and a huge CBSO collaborated attentively. Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

Bach

Solo Cello Suites: 17 July 2009

Zaha Hadid Pavilion

Queyras confirmed that he was equally at ease in a concert performance of Bach Suites as in his magnificent recording for Harmonia Mundi: the elegance of his manner, the refinement of his elocution, the variety of his imagination worked wonders. In his playing no hint of tie or restraint, just freedom, weightlessness, a true architectural scroll. Renaud Machart, Le Monde

Recordings

Debussy, Dutilleux & Ravel

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Quatuor à cordes op.10
en sol mineur / G minor / g-moll

Henri Dutilleux (1916)
"Ainsi la nuit" pour quatuor à cordes

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Quatuor à cordes en Fa majeur / F major / F-dur

Arcanto Quartet
harmonia mundi

XXIst Century Cello Concertos

Mantovani, Schoeller, Amy

Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken/Günther Herbig
Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France/Alexander Briger
Orchestre de Paris/Gilbert Amy
Jean-Guihen Queyras, Cello
harmonia mundi