Les Vents Francais
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Full Biography

Founding members:

Emmanuel Pahud | flute
Paul Meyer | clarinet
Eric Le Sage | piano

Emmanuel Pahud | Flute

"Pahud is one of the finds of the decade, a player who respects the pure tonal palette of the flute " Gramophone
Named "Instrumentalist of the Year 1997" at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique award ceremony in Paris, the Swiss-French flutist Emmanuel Pahud is one of today's most exciting and adventurous musicians. He was born in Geneva in January 1970 and started to study music at the age of six. He graduated in 1990 with the Premier Prix from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, after which he continued his studies with Aurele Nicolet.
He has won first prize in many major competitions and he won eight out of the twelve prizes at the International Music competitions of Geneva in 1992, Kobe in 1989 and Duino in 1988. He took the Soloists Prize in the French-speaking Community Radio Awards in Switzerland, and the European Council's Juventus Prize. He is also a laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and of the International Tribune for Musicians of UNESCO.
At the age of 22, Emmanuel Pahud was appointed Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, a post to which he returned in 2002 after a two-year sabbatical period.
Emmanuel appears regularly at leading festivals throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East. His concerto appearances in the past few seasons have included the Berlin Philharmonic (Abbado), Baltimore Symphony, London Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle (Zinman), Suisse Romande, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic (Roshdestvensky), Bayerische Rundfunk (Maazel), RSO-Wien, Radio-France's Philharmonique (Hogwood), Danish Radio Symphony, a US tour with the Barcelona Symphony (including a Carnegie Hall début), Mariinski Orchestra (Katchaturian Concerto with Gergiev), Minnesota Orchestra (Vänska), Washington National Symphony (Perlmann), and a highly successful Australian début tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Highlights among his future concerto engagements include the Camerata Salzburg, NHK Symphony Japan, Aspen (Zinman), Toronto Symphony, Dallas Symphony (Litton), London Philharmonic, European tours with the Scottish Chamber and Australian Chamber Orchestras, a US tour with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie (Harding) and a Far East tour with the Berliner Barock Solisten.
Emmanuel Pahud is also a dedicated chamber musician. He has recently toured Europe, North America and Japan in recital with pianists Eric Le Sage, Stephen Kovacecich and Hélène Grimaud, as well as in a flute and string quartet formation with Christoph Poppen, Hariolf Schichtig and Jean-Guihen Queyras. Highlights of the next two seasons include a Japan recital tour with Eric Le Sage, a series of 'carte blanche' concert at Cologne's Philharmonie, and a residency at the Lucerne Festival.
Emmanuel Pahud's discography earned him several awards, including several Diapasons d'Or, Radio France's "Recording of the Year 1997", several Fono-Forum awards in Germany and the "Geijutsu" award from the Japanese record industry. In 1996 he signed an exclusive solo recording contract with EMI. He has since released six discs on the label to unanimous critical acclaim ("I haven't heard a flautist on disc that I like as much as Pahud" - American Record Guide; "surpassing any previous recordings of the Mozart quartets"- BBC Music Magazine; "this signals the arrival of a new master flautist" - The Guardian; "don't miss any of Pahud's recordings!" – Diapason), and Pahud's collaboration with EMI is set to be one of the most significant contributions to recorded flute music. His most recent releases are Into the Blue - a collaboration with jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson (April 2003), a disc with Katchaturian and Ibert's flute concertos (Zurich Tonhalle with Zinman, released September 2003), and a recital disc with harpist Mariko Anraku (March 2004). One of his last releases was the Franck, Widor and R. Strauss sonatas with Eric Le sage (Autumn 2004) and in June 2005 he has recorded Vivaldi concertos with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Paul Meyer | Clarinet

One of the world’s exceptional clarinettists, Paul Meyer has appeared with major orchestras in Europe, USA, Far East and Australia such as : Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Hamburg and Hanover NDR Orchestras, Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Strasbourg, Toulouse Orchestras, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Munich, Stuttgart, Zurich Chamber Orchestras, Scottish and English Chamber Orchestras, under conductors like Myung-Whun Chung, Günther Herbig, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Marek Janowski, Michael Gielen, Hans Graf, Dennis Russell Davies, John Nelson, Kent Nagano, Emmanuel Krivine, Sylvain Cambreling, Luciano Berio, Ulf Schirmer, Heinrich Schiff, Michael Schonwandt, David Zinman.

Paul Meyer has a particularly wide concerto repertoire which includes the major contemporary works for clarinet (Pierre Boulez, Morton Gould, Hans-Werner Henze …). He gave the world premiere of Gerd Kuhr’s Concerto at the Salzburg Festival. Krysztof Penderecki composed for him a concerto which was premiered at the Bad Kissingen Festival with the Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by the composer. Luciano Berio has dedicated to him a clarinet concerto - Alternatim – which was premiered in Europe and in the USA (Amsterdam with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Paris, Berlin, Salzburg). He also gave premieres of Michael Jarrell’s Concerto for clarinet with the Orchestre de Paris and Sylvain Cambreling and, recently, Jean-Louis Agobet’s Concerto for 3 Clarinets, Quigan Chen’s Concerto with the Strasbourg Philharmonic, as well as with the Shangai Philharmonic under Muhai Tang and J.P.Goude’s Piece with the Orchestre de Bretagne.

In chamber music, Paul Meyer plays with Myung-Whun Chung, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, François-René Duchable, Michel Dalberto, Eric Le Sage, Maria Joao Pires, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Barbara Hendricks, Nathalie Dessay, Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, Tabea Zimmermann, Jian Wang and Emmanuel Pahud, as well as the Carmina, Cleveland, Emerson, Hagen, Melos, Vogler, Ysaye and Takacs String Quartets. He had also the honour to play with Jean-Pierre Rampal and Isaac Stern.

Paul Meyer has recorded works by Mozart, Weber, Copland, Busoni, Krommer, Pleyel, Brahms, Schumann, Bernstein, Arnold, Piazzolla, Poulenc for Denon, CBS, Erato, Sony, EMI, BMG, DGG. His recordings received numerous prises (Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Stern by Monats Fonoforum, Prix de la révélation musicale, French Victoires de la Musique 99). Recently released : Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto para Quintetto with Gidon Kremer (Nonesuch), Poulenc chamber music (BMG), Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps with Myung-Whun Chung, Gil Shaham, Jian Wang (DGG), Brahms recital with Eric Le Sage (BMG), chamber music with Emmanuel Pahud and Eric Le Sage, as conductor with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and Jean-Marc Luisada (BMG) Mozart and Haydn. Just released : Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and John Nelson (Virgin Classics).

Although a famous clarinettist, in the last few years Paul Meyer has also built up an extensive career as a conductor. He has conducted among others the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano G.Verdi, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Sinfonia Varsovia, Belgrade Philharmonic, Bilbao Symphony and Taipei Symphony Orchestra. He toured France with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and Italy with the Archi Italiana. Recently he has conducted the Philharmonique de Radio France with Michel Portal as soloist, the Orchestre National d’Ile de France, the Nice Philharmonic, as well as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, with Emmanuel Pahud as soloist on tour in Scotland and Germany.

Paul Meyer was born in Mulhouse (Alsace, France) in 1965. Following his debut performance at the age of 13 with the Orchestre Symphonique du Rhin, he went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Basler Musikhochschule. Winner of the French Young Musicians Competition in 1982 and of the prestigious USA Young Concert Artists Auditions in 1984, he went on to give debut concerts in New York and consequently met and became friends with the legendary Benny Goodman, whose influence and friendship played an important part in Paul Meyer’s career and life.
In March 2007, Paul Meyer has been appointed "Associate Chief Conductor" of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

Eric Le Sage | Piano

Eric Le Sage is recognised as a musician of rare musical sensitivity. He is now established as one of the leading pianists of his generation. A highly acclaimed performer of Schumann’s piano music and of chamber music in general, his deep interest in unknown works has earned him a catalogue of over fifty concertos, from Bach to Jolivet and Gershwin to Hindemith, Schoenberg, Britten or Bernstein. He is also, with clarinettist Paul Meyer and flutist Emmanuel Pahud, the founder and artistic director of the “Musique à l’Empéri” international chamber music festival in Salon de Provence, France.

Eric Le Sage has performed recitals and chamber music concerts in such major music centres as la Roque d’Anthéron, Evian, Aix-en-Provence, Menton, Radio-France Montpellier, Potsdam Sanssouci, Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Pleyel, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall, Carnegie Hall, Schwartzenberg’s Schubertiade, Ludwigsburg Festival, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Dublin’s celebrity series.. as well as various venues in Germany, Italy, Spain, the United-Kingdom, South America, the United-States, Japan.

He also performed this season or is to perform in the upcoming months as a soloist with The Royal Scottish National Orchstra in Glasgow, the Gothenburg Philharmony in Sweden, the Rotterdam Philharmony at De Doelen, the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie in Brussels, the NHK Symphony Orchestra for a tour in Japan, the Verona Symphonic Orchestra, with conductors Edo de Waart, Stéphane Denève, George Pehlivanian, …

The orchestras Eric has previously played with include the Dresden Philharmonic, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Zwickau Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Television Symphony Orchestra, the Lisbon Radio Orchestra, the Koln Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National d’Ile de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, …

Most of Eric Le Sage’s recordings for RCA-BMG, Naïve, EMI,… were highly acclaimed and awarded the most sought after rewards in France: Diapason d’Or de l’Année, 10 de Repertoire, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Grand Prix du Disque, Recording of the Month in Fono Forum and Gramophone, Victoire de la Musique. Among others, the recording of the complete works of Francis Poulenc (solo, chamber music and concertos) was rewarded with various prestigious prizes internationally.

Born in 1964 in Aix en Provence, Eric Le Sage was the winner of major international competitions such as Porto in 1985 and the Robert Schumann competition in Zwickau, in 1989. He was also a prize-winner at Leeds International competition the same year, which allowed him to perform under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle.

Among the various projects Eric Le Sage is currently involved in, one is particularly important to him: Eric has launched in Schumann’s complete works for piano on stage, as part of the composer’s double-anniversary in 2006 and 2010. The complete cycle will be recorded by the label Alpha . He has been invited to perform in this context in suche venues as Salle Pleyel (Cité de la Musique), Théâtre du Châtelet, Lièges’s Philharmonic, Quebec and various venues in Japan.


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