"Queyras performs as he breathes…His technical ease allows him to play with the music, to knead it, giving a particular character to each work... The alternation of shadow and light, assumption and allusive asides is the essence of Queyras’ art...A packed house listened to him, gobsmacked, and in absolute silence. Queyras speaks of the world… he brings the universe to the end of his bow."
Christophe Huss, Le devoir, Montréal, dec 2010
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, Philadelphia, Tonhalle Zürich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande and Netherlands Philharmonique, under the baton of conductors such as Franz Brüggen, Günther Herbig, Ivan Fisher, Philippe Herreweghe, Jiří Bělohlávek, Olivier Knussen and Sir Roger Norrington. He is a regular soloist with several early music ensembles such as Freiburg Baroque and Akadamie für Alte Musik Berlin and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York with Concerto Köln in March 2004.
His extensive repertoire incorporates a number of contemporary works and he has given several world premieres including Ivan Fedele’s cello concerto (Orchestre National de France, Leonard Slatkin) and Gilbert Amy’s concerto (Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, Tokyo). He has also premiered and recorded Bruno Mantovani’s concerto with the Saarbrücken Radio Sinfonieorchester and Phillippe Schoeller’s Wind’s Eyes with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg. He will be premiering a new cello concerto by Michael Jarrell in the 12/13 season, a co-commission by the orchestras in Utah, Lyon, Luxembourg and Suisse Romande.
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. Since the 2010/11 season, he has been “Artist in Residence” with the Hamburg-based chamber orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, with whom he leads and plays several eclectic programmes in the Laieszhalle Hamburg, Köln Philharmonie, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord Paris, the Konzerthaus Wien and the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam. This residency has recently been extended to include the 2012/13 season. Furthermore, he will be soloist in residence of the Netherlands Philharmonic for the seasons 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Jean-Guihen’s particular focus on repertoire for solo cello, which articulately demonstrates the exceptional narrative and expressive force of the monodic instrument, led him to devise and perform several series of concerts featuring the Suites by J.S Bach alongside contemporary works and he commissioned six composers (Kurtag, Harvey, Mochizuki, Amy, Nodaïra & Fedele) to write an ‘echo’ to each of the six Bach Suites for solo cello, in a project called ‘Six Suites, Six Echos’.
He made his BBC Proms debut to unanimous acclaim (Haydn in C) in 2008 and appears regularly at the Aldeburgh Festival. His regular chamber music partners include the pianists Alexander Melnikov and Alexandre Tharaud and the violinist Isabelle Faust. He is a member of the Arcanto Quartet with Tabea Zimmermann, Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec, and performs regularly 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 month in Diapason, CHOC du Monde de la Musique etc), he has released two further recordings; a Debussy-Poulenc CD with pianist Alexandre Tharaud, which was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’Année in 2008 and ‘Cello Concertos of the 21st Century’, released last year. Previous CDs include Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ alongside works by Berg and Webern (again with Alexandre Tharaud), Dvořák’s cello concerto with the Prague Philharmonia under the baton of Jiří Bĕlohlávek) 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 was the solo cellist of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with whom he recorded the Ligeti Cello Concerto for Deutsche Grammophon, conducted by Pierre Boulez (Gramophone Contemporary Music Award). He recorded Dutilleux’s Tout un Monde Lointain for Arte Nova/BMG and Boulez’s Messagesquisse for Deutsche Grammophon (Gramophone Contemporary Music Award).
In November 2002, Jean-Guihen Queyras received the City of Toronto Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music, awarded to him by Pierre Boulez and the Glenn Gould Foundation, and was recently made ‘Instrumental Soloist of the Year’ at the French Classical Music Awards as well as ‘Artist of the Year’ by the readers of the Diapason magazine.
Jean-Guihen Queyras is Professor at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany and one of the Artistic Directors of the ‘Rencontres Musicales de Haute-Provence’ which take place in Forcalquier in July each year.
He has played a cello made by Gioffredo Cappa in 1696, on loan from Mécénat Musical Société Générale since November 2005