Alexandra Soumm

Biography

French violinist Alexandra Soumm is a multi-faceted artist who is equally at home in concerto and chamber repertoire.  Orchestras with which she has collaborated in recent years include the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, National Philharmonic of Russia, Israel Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Tokyo Symphony.  As a chamber musician, she has given recitals at the Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), Wigmore Hall (London), City of London Festival and Toppan Hall (Tokyo).  She has also appeared at international festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Deauville, Menton, Montpellier, St Denis, Strasbourg, Verbier and the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad.  She is very involved with the Seiji Ozawa International Academy in Switzerland and has been taking part in the project for the past 10 years.

In the 2012/13 season, Alexandra made her debuts with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera italiana and Helsinki Philharmonic.  2013/14 promises to be an exciting season.  Following the Nuremberg Symphony’s season-opening (Alexander Shelley), Alexandra will make her debuts with the Detroit Symphony (Slatkin; also her first visit to the US), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Hungarian National Philharmonic (Kocsis).  She will also visit Japan on two separate occasions.

Alexandra enjoys an ongoing relationship with many leading orchestras in France.  In addition to the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, she has also performed with the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Orchestre National de Lyon and Orchestre National de Montpellier.  In the UK, she was a member of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artist scheme 2010-12, during which time she worked with most of the BBC ensembles.  She maintains her connection with the UK through her position as a London Music Masters awardee 2012-2015.

In the spring of 2008 Alexandra’s debut recording of the Bruch and Paganini concertos was released on the Claves label.  Le Monde de la Musique described her interpretation as ‘displaying a passionate and lyrical personality’.  Her second disc with Claves, a recording of the violin sonatas by Grieg, was released in spring 2010.

Born in Moscow, Alexandra started to learn the violin with her father at the age of five and gave her first concert two years later.  She later moved to Vienna to study with the renowned pedagogue Boris Kuschnir and won the Eurovision Competition in 2004.  Now based in Paris, she, along with two friends, founded non-profit organisation Esperanz’Arts in 2012, which was the culmination of four years’ involvement in charity projects aimed at creating opportunities through the arts.  In January 2013, Alexandra was named Godmother of the newly established El Sistema France.

The violin Alexandra plays on is made by Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini in Turin c.1785 and is known as the ‘ex-Kavakos’.  The loan of the instrument by a benefactor is a part of the London Music Masters Award and has kindly been arranged through Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, London.


Read More >

download

News & Features

Repertoire

Please note: this concerto repertoire list is for reference only. The choice of repertoire for a particular project remains at the artist's discretion.

J.S. BACH
Concerto in A minor
Double Violin Concerto

BARBER
Concerto

BEETHOVEN
Concerto
Triple Concerto

BERNSTEIN
Serenade

BRAHMS
Concerto
Double Concerto

BRUCH
Concerto no.1
Double Concerto

CHAUSSON
Poeme

CONUS
Concerto

GLAZUNOV
Concerto

LALO
Symphonie Espagnole

MENDELSSOHN
Concerto in E minor
Double Concerto for Violin and Piano

MOZART
Concerto no.3
Concerto no.4
Sinfonia Concertante

PAGANINI
Concerto no.1

PROKOFIEV
Concerto no.1

RAVEL
Tzigane

SIBELIUS
Concerto

SHOSTAKOVICH
Concerto no.2 (in preparation)

TCHAIKOVSKY
Concerto

WAXMAN
Carmen Fantasy

Read More >

Media Player

Video


  • Interview in Budapest

Schedule

Auditorium du Louvre, Paris

Chausson: Quatuor pour piano et cordes en la majeur opus 30
Faure: Quatuor no.2 pour piano et cordes en sol mineur opus 45
Mahler: Quartettsatz en la mineur

Alexandra Soumm, violin
Adrien La Marca, viola
Victor Julien-Laferriere, cello
Adam Laloum, piano

The Sage, Gateshead

Mozart: Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
Beethoven: Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano 
Bruch: Concerto for Clarinet and Viola 
Prokofiev: Classical Symphony 

Royal Northern Sinfonia / Alexandre Bloch
Alexandra Soumm, violin
Jakob Koranyi, cello
Alexandra Dariescu, piano

Load More

Season overview

Press

Prokofiev

Violin Concerto no.1

Nürnberger Symphoniker / various conductors

Dazwischen bewies die 23-jährige Moskauerin Alexandra Soumm in Prokofjews raffiniert konstruiertem, keineswegs nur auf Virtuosenglanz ausgerichtetem ersten Violinkonzert und einem Auszug aus der zweiten Ysayë-Sonate, über welch großartig tragfähigen, aber nie aufdringlichen Ton die geigerin verfügt.
(Conductor: Alexander Shelley)
Jens Voskamp, Nürnberger Nachrichten, 16 September 2013

Die in Moskau geborene Alexandra Soumm demonstrierte in Sergej Prokofjews 1. Violinkonzert, was eine Harke bzw. Geige ist: Den sinnlichen Verführungen mengt Prokofjew immer wieder rasante Läufe in höchster Exzentrik und einen unglaublichen rhythmischen Furor bei, so dass die zum Pferdeschwanz gebundene Haarpracht der 25-Jährigen einfach nicht zur Ruhe kam.
Perfekte Kontrolle über den Ton, Ausdrucksstärke und ein geradezu maskulin-kräftiger Zugriff zeichneten ihr Spiel aus und begeisterten das Publikum zu Recht.
(Conductor: Alexander Shelley)
Peter Löw, Nürnberger Zeitung, 16 September 2013

Begeisterte Bravo-Rufe hatte es bereits vor der Pause für die erst 24-jährige, in Moskau geborene Violinistin Alexandra Soumm gegeben.  Das Violinkonzert Nr.1 D-Dur schien Sergej Prokofiew für sie komponiert zu haben.  Das heiterironische und durchaus lyrische Werk ist vor allem im zweiten Satz mit Schwierigkeiten gespickt.  Mühelos und mit atemberaubender Virtuosität meisterte die junge Geigerin alle Hürden.  Ihr schöner, voller Ton, der Klang ihrer Guadagnini-Geige begeisterte vom ersten Moment.  Mit ihrer interessanten Interpretation brachte Soumm das Violinkonzert von Prokofiew dem hiesigen Publikum nahe.  Ein absoluter Konzertgenuss und Ovationen für eine bemerkenswerte Künstlerin, deren Namen man sich merken sollte.
(Conductor: Daniele Squeo)
Margot Schäfer, Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt, 5 December 2013

Sibelius

Violin Concerto

Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin

She gave a fiery, impulsive and edgy account of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, flamboyant and scorching, but she inhabited the work, her virtuosity serving the music and her particular view of it.  Soumm has a generous spirit and found real soul in the slow movement. Colin Anderson, www.classicalsource.com, 7 November 2013

Glazunov

Violin Concerto

Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse / Christian Vásquez

Dans les deux volets enchaînés de la partition, la soliste témoigne d’une telle maturité, d’une musicalité d’une telle profondeur et, bien entendu, d’une telle sûreté technique que l’académisme qui entache parfois certaines exécutions de ce concerto disparaît totalement de son approche chaleureuse et baignée de lumière. Il faut redire ici l’extrême qualité de son jeu : justesse sans faille, équilibre des registres, finesse des phrasés, perfection absolue des délicats passages en harmoniques… Virtuose accomplie, Alexandra Soumm ne fonde pourtant pas l’essentiel de son interprétation sur la seule perfection de sa technique. Ce qui entraîne par-dessus tout l’adhésion de l’auditeur, c’est la sensibilité de la musicienne. Serge Chauzy, Classic Toulouse, 14 January 2013

Recital: 16 October 2012

Wigmore Hall, London

Soumm, with her marvellous fiddle, launched into Grieg’s Second Violin Sonata in G major with fire and passion: she got up a good head of steam at the start and pretty much maintained it.  She lovingly caressed the soft and lyrical elements of the second movement, but the ravishing power-play soon returned.  The last movement was delightful, with some skittishness and humour along the way before the big finish.

In Prokofiev’s Five Melodies op.35a, Soumm produced delicate lyrical shaping, controlled and expressive.  The great Romantic swagger familiar from the Grieg was back in spades for Strauss’s E flat major Sonata, tempered with a broad and subtle range of mood and colour.  The slow movement had tenderness and poetry, with fine playing too from her sensitive partner Adam Laloum, before the fireworks of the last movement, with Soumm technically dazzling, and smiling with the fun of it all.

Tim Homfray, The Strad, January 2013

Soumm and Adam Laloum chose an attractive programme, which opened with the bright tones of Grieg’s G major Sonata, a youthful work, written when the composer was 24, it brims with energy and melodic ideas.  Soumm’s bold tone ensured these were fully projected. There are a number of quirks to Grieg’s writing, such as the sombre, minor-key introduction, given with bowed head by Laloum, but Soumm exploded into life once it had finished.  This was a performance of high spirits, though the songful second movement was mindful of a darker melancholy, before a bright and positive Allegro, its ‘animato’ wholesomely observed.

Soumm’s tone, sparkling and sweet-natured in the Grieg, was at times too full-bodied for the intricacies of Prokofiev’s Five Melodies.  Originally written in 1920 for the soprano Nina Kochitz, these pieces transcribe effortlessly for violin as arranged by the composer five years later.  When the instrument is muted the spidery figuration of the first piece in particular gives an eerie effect. Soumm was alive to this particular sound, while elsewhere the duo successfully brought out the sudden moments of intense reflection that Prokofiev writes alongside more broadly lyrical statements.  The charm of the fourth piece was wary of these contrasts, and despite a few passages of over-projection this was a poised and closely observed account.

Richard Strauss’s Violin Sonata proved the ideal piece for these two musicians, full of youthful exuberance and passion.  The piano has a crucial part to play here, with quasi-orchestral scoring that needs to be played without dominating the violin.  Laloum got this balance absolutely right, fully in control of even the most difficult incidences of virtuosity in the finale, while it was he that successfully held back in the second movement ‘Improvisation’, giving some much needed respite from the fireworks elsewhere.  Both players clearly enjoyed this piece, smiling a lot as they performed, and both relished its blend of virtuosity and unadulterated romance, while making room for some pleasing references to the soon-to-be-published Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, which scurried about in the finale, the music surging forward irrepressibly.

Ben Hogwood, www.classicalsource.com, 16 October 2012

Mendelssohn

Violin Concerto

Northern Sinfonia / Janusz Piotrowicz, Ripon Festival

"...this was one of the finest performances of the work I have ever heard.  It positively sizzled but not at the expense of the lovely Mendelssohnian lyricisms.  A former child prodigy, Alexandra is now a mature 23 year old who delivers playing of astonishing power from a slight frame in a way that seems to defy nature.  The three component parts of orchestra, conductor and soloist were interpretively at one, negotiating their way through roller coaster tempi with perfect ensemble.  A wonderful moment was Mendelssohn’s cadenza towards the end of the first movement delivered quite stunningly by the soloist.  Here it was possible to savour the otherwise problematic acoustic of the cathedral setting.  The repeated, astronomically high notes wafted to the vaulted roof and lingered with ethereal resonance around the sacred space, lending authority to the clichéd adjective 'heavenly'."
John Leeman, Seen & Heard International, 9 May 2012

Mozart

Violin Concerto no.3

BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Martyn Brabbins

"Alexandra Soumm, a BBC Radio 3 New Generation artist, was the very poised soloist, her tone bright but articulating the phrasing with sensitivity and charm." The Guardian, 6 December 2011

Grieg

Violin Sonatas

Claves Records


THE STRAD RECOMMENDS: “Youth and vitality pour forth from these delicious recordings of the Grieg sonatas by Moscow-born violinist Alexandra Soumm and French pianist David Kadouch, both in their mid-twenties.  Never a note or a gesture is misplaced, Soumm bringing a featherlight touch to Grieg’s songful phrases, and Kadouch echoing her finesse with his transparent and eminently sensitive pianism.”

The Strad, December 2010

Recordings