Warner Classics and Erato artists were out in full force at the 2016 Victoires de la Musique Classique - the French classical GRAMMYs.
The labels had more artists nominated than any other recording company, with several giving live performances throughout last night's glittering ceremony broadcast to a televised and radio audience of millions on France2 and France Classique.
Bertrand Chamayou took the coveted final prize of Solo Instrumentalist of the Year. "I'm moved to accept this award in my hometown," he said. "I'd like to thank all the Toulousains who supported me from the beginning...I've just released a new album of Ravel that was recorded here in Toulouse."
Chamayou also played a movement of the Liszt Piano Concerto live during the ceremony, with conductor Tugan Sokhiev and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, in a performance dedicated to the late French composer-conductor Pierre Boulez.
He is now a three-time Victoires de la Musique Classique laureate, having previously won 'Revelation of the Year, Solo Instrumentalist' in 2006, and 'Recording of the Year' in 2012.
The recording project grew from performances of a ballet production of Daphnis et Chloé at Paris’ Opéra Bastille in Spring 2014: Philippe Jordan, Music Director of the Paris Opéra, was conducting a complete ballet for the first time and the choreographer, Benjamin Millepied – known to a wide audience for his work on the Oscar-winning film Black Swan, starring his wife, Natalie Portman – was undertaking his first major project for the Opéra before assuming his new role as its Director of Dance in Autumn 2014.
Also nominated in this category was the Mozart album The Weber Sisters (Sabine Devieilhe, Pygmalion orchestra and conductor Raphaël Pichon).
Seventeen-year-old trumpet virtuoso Lucienne Renaudin Vary was named Solo Instrumental Revelation of the year. On accepting this award for France’s brightest rising stars, she announced a forthcoming debut album in the planning stages with Warner Classics, a label with a roster of revered trumpet players past and present, notably Maurice André and Alison Balsom.
"I'm so happy to have the opportunity to record a future album based on vocal repertoire, opera and song, and I hope to explore the link between classical trumpet and jazz," she said in a statement. Lucienne also performed the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major as part of the ceremony.
In this category for promising young artists, all three nominees were linked to Warner Classics and Erato. Violinist Camille Berthollet, the winner of the Prodiges competition whose debut album of the same name achieved Gold status in France just weeks after its release, gave a moving live performance of the theme from Schindler's List. Violist Adrien Boisseau, meanwhile, joined the award-winning Ebène Quartet last year and releases his first album as part of the group in April.
Remarkably, the ages of musicians performing in the Victoires de la Musique this year ranged from 17 to 92, with veteran pianist and founder of the Beaux Arts Trio Menahem Pressler receiving a Victoire d'Honneur for Life Achievement - a career spanning more than 70 years. As precise and lively as ever, he accepted the accolade with a live performance of Chopin's A-minor Mazurka Op.17 No.4.
Pressler's 90th birthday celebrations in Paris in 2014 were captured in a live album featuring his chosen chamber music partners the Ebène Quartet. The year 2016 began auspiciously for this living legend with his long-overdue debut with the Berlin Philharmonic at the annual New Year's Eve Concert, now available on DVD from EuroArts.
Warner Classics and Erato congratulate all the award-winners and nominees this year at France's biggest classical music event, the Victoires de la Musique Classique.
Nominations for the Victoires de la Musique Classique - the French classical GRAMMYs - have been unveiled for 2016.
Two of the three nominated albums for Recording of the Year are acclaimed Erato releases. Mozart: The Weber Sisters (coloratura soprano Sabine Devieilhe's "portrait of Mozart in love", with Ensemble Pygmalion and conductor Raphaël Pichon), has already won the 2015 Charles Cros Académie award for Album of the Year, and a Classica 'Choc d'Année'.
Maestro Philippe Jordan and the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris are also up for a Victoire with their sumptuous Ravel album: Daphnis et Chloé and La Valse.
In the Instrumental Soloist category, Toulouse-born pianist Bertrand Chamayou is among the finalists. His complete survey of Ravel's solo piano music, due to be released in January 2016, will undoubtedly set the tone for a bright year in classical music.
Erato is delighted to welcome a newly signed artist to the label's roster among the three Opera Singer of the Year nominees: French mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa, with exciting recording projects to be announced soon.
Among the exceptional young talents nominated for Revelation of the Year in the Instrumentalist category are two remarkable string players: the newest member of the Ebène Quartet, violist Adrien Boisseau, and 16-year-old violinist/cellist Camille Berthollet, who won the televised French talent contest Prodigies last year and has already achieved Gold Album status with her debut recording on Warner Classics.
The winners in the 23rd Victoires de la Musique Classique will be announced in a ceremony televised on France 3 from Toulouse on 24 February, featuring surprise soloists with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Tugan Sokhiev.
Recording of the Year
Mozart / The Weber Sisters
Sabine Devieilhe, Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon
Ravel / Daphnis & Chloé, La valse
Orchestre et chœur de l’Opéra national de Paris / Philippe Jordan
Julie Fuchs - Orchestre national de Lille / Samuel Jean
Bertrand Chamayou, piano
Adam Laloum, piano
Magali Mosnier, flute
Opera Singer of the Year
Marianne Crebassa, mezzo-soprano
Stéphane Degout, baritone
Karine Deshayes, mezzo-soprano
Camille Berthollet, violin
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Lucienne Renaudin-Vary, trumpet
Guillaume Andrieux, baritone
Elsa Dreisig, soprano
Jérémy Duffau, tenor
Richard Dubugnon - Concerto sacra Op.67 for Oboe and Orchestra
Philippe Hersant - Cantique des trois enfants dans la fournaise
Bruno Mantovani - In and Out, Concerto for timpani and orchestra
Camille Berthollet shot to stardom in her native France just before New Year's celebrations of 2014-15. The then 15-year-old violinist/cellist was crowned winner of the young classical talent quest Prodiges, produced by Shine France and aired on France 2. With her high-energy performance of 'Summer' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, the flame-haired teen captivated a television audience of four million viewers on France2, along with competition judges including the internationally renowned cellist Gautier Capuçon.
Almost a year later, Camille's debut album on Warner Classics, released in October 2015, has already reached Gold status in France with more than 50,000 copies sold in a few short weeks. Prodiges features Capuçon in duet with Camille (a soulful Piazzolla Oblivion), as well as her older sister and fellow violinist Julie Berthollet.
"Recording my debut album at the age of sixteen is an out-of-the-ordinary experience, the stuff of dreams," says Camille. "The Prodiges verdict hasn't changed my life but it has opened wonderful doors to me, the most marvellous one being contacted by the president of Warner Classics. They gave me the opportunity to record my first album and choose my ideal programme. I also had the great fortune to meet Gautier Capuçon and to play with him."
The secret to her success? Unlike many children who get swept up in the life of a professional musician from an early age, Camille has enjoyed a relatively normal childhood in the idyllic Rhone-Alpes region of France, surrounded by the musical support of her family. "I'm very lucky to always have my sister Julie with me, and naturally I wanted to record this album with her...we've been playing together since I started cello at the age of four. She is the violinist I can always lean on...We're lucky to have parents that always supported us and encouraged us in our choices."
And apart from her musical studies and busy press and concert schedule? "I love to read, go to the cinema or just go out with friends! I also enjoy swimming and shopping...And of course, going to concerts."
Camille Berthollet's album Prodiges is out now.
On 27 December 2014, in front of a televised audience of 4.5 million viewers – and without even a hint of stage fright – a flame-haired 15-year-old violinist was crowned winner of the first-ever Prodiges (Prodigies) competition for young musicians and dancers, produced by Shine France and aired on France 2.
Camille Berthollet astonished judges including star cellist Gautier Capuçon with an electrifying ‘Presto’ from the Summer
concerto of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. “You can sense in her such a passion, she is really inside the music… She is so young but she already has this internal spark and this energy,” he said of his protégée.
But Camille is not your standard child prodigy. Born in 1999, she asked her parents for cello lessons at the age of three – violin followed five years later and she quickly excelled as a virtuoso on both instruments, studying in Geneva, Lyon and at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She has already performed on Stradivarius and del Gesù violins in Europe, Asia and the United States.
Even before she shot to stardom on Prodiges (Prodigies), she was no stranger to prestigious international competitions, in 2010, 2012 and 2014 winning the First Prize of the Swiss Youth Competition for Music, as well as the First Prize of the 2012 Popper Competition in Paris and Second Prize in the Mary Smart international competition in New York (under-sixteens category), among others.
Soon after the show aired, Camille signed to Warner Classics as an exclusive artist, recording her debut album, Prodiges (Prodigies), for release in October 2015. “The contest hasn’t changed my life, but it has opened wonderful doors to me, the most marvelous one being sought out by the president of Warner Classics, Alain Lanceron,” she recalls. “They suggested I record my first album and that I could choose the programme freely.”
What sets Camille apart from many other gifted Wunderkinder may be her idyllic upbringing in the Rhône-Alpes region of Annecy – surrounded not only by music, but also by familial support rather than pressure, growing up playing in duet with her older violinist sister Julie, now 18. “I’m lucky to have my sister Julie always close to me. We learn a great deal from one another, she’s a wonderful violinist and I can always lean on her. So naturally, I wanted to make this album with her! I also had the great fortune to record with Gautier Capuçon.”
The Prodiges (Prodigies) album is a broad-ranging collection of virtuoso miniatures for duet and dazzling solo works with the Auvergne Orchestra. The programme includes movements from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with which Camille ignited the stage live on France 2 TV, Bach’s Double Concerto, Sarasate’s Navarra, Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No.1, the searing theme from Schindler’s List, and a personal favourite of Camille’s: Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose. Gautier Capuçon joins Camille in Piazzolla’s soulful Oblivion.
“To record this album at 16 years of age is an out-of-the-ordinary experience that I had only dreamed of,” she enthuses.
Camille's debut album Prodigies is out now.