Soloists » Philippe Graffin, violin

Violinist Philippe Graffin has established an indisputable reputation for his interpretations of the French repertoire, natural perhaps for one of the few pupils of Josef Gingold, himself a pupil of Ysaÿe, for whom most of the violin repertoire of this era was written.

Philippe made his first recording with Yehudi Menuhin conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and his many highly acclaimed recordings since then bear witness to a questing mind and include many world premieres. He has rediscovered original settings of Chausson’s Poème and Ravel’s Tzigane and has championed the forgotten violin concertos of Fauré and the English composer Coleridge-Taylor, which he has recorded and performed at the BBC Proms.

As concerto soloist, he has performed with orchestras such as The Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken the Residentie Orkest, Gothenburg Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra di Padova et del Veneto, St Petersburg Philharmonic and Georges Enescu Philharmonic. Graffin performs works of many living composers and has had works written for him by Rodion Shchedrin, Vytautas Barkaukas, David Matthews, Philippe Hersant and Yves Prin.

Philippe is a highly sought after chamber musician and is founder and artistic director of the ”Consonances”, a chamber music festival held in St Nazaire, France, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015. Philippe has also written a short children’s story for violin and narrator, La Fée Cachée (The Hidden Fairy), illustrated with musical excerpts by Mozart, Paganini, Kreisler and Ravel.

A busy summer included a recording of the Delius concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, to be released shortly coupled with Britten’s Violin Concerto and The Philharmonia Orchestra. Philippe’s concerto engagements in 2014/15 include the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin, Sweden’s Camerata Nordica and Lithuanian National Philharmonic. He will also mark his twenty years in London (which began with an Ysaÿe festival at Wigmore Hall in 1995) with a Cadogan Hall concert with the English Chamber Orchestra, to include the world premiere of a new concerto written especially for him by British composer, Peter Fribbins.

A highlight this season is a three-concert event at Theatre Flagey in Brussels, curated by Philippe, around the iconic French actor, Gérard Depardieu, exploring the relationship between poetry and music. The event will be recorded by Belgian television for broadcast in many European countries. A documentary on the project from conception to completion is also in hand. In France Philippe has chamber music concerts at Salle Adyar in Paris as well as concerts for the prestigious Concerts du Poche series. He also returns for a third consecutive year to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

Recordings include three contributions to Hyperion’s Romantic Violin series – the three Saint-Saëns concertos, world-premiere recordings of concertos by Cliffe and d’Erlanger and, pending release, the works of Joseph Jongen newly recorded with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Martyn Brabbins. For Avie Records he made the world premiere recording of the Coleridge-Taylor violin concerto and recorded Elgar’s Violin concerto in the original manuscript version. Philippe has also recorded the concertos of David Matthews for Dutton Records and Philippe Gaubert’s Violin Concerto for Timpani Records. New releases include the world premiere of the violin concerto of Finnish composer Tauno Marttinen, with the Turku Philharmonic, and a new recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, the first to include the cadenza by Ysaÿe, on a CD which also includes Prokofiev’s Five Melodies orchestrated by Rodion Shchedrin and Shchedrin’s Concerto Parlando, written for Philippe. Both these latest CDS are on the Dutch label Cobra.

He plays a Domenico Busano violin, made in Venice, 1730. He is currently guest professor at the Royal Conservatorium Brussels and in 2015 takes up a position at the Conservatoire Supérieure de Musique in Paris.