Gautier Capuçon is widely recognised as one of the foremost cellists of his generation and has received consistently high critical praise for his recordings and performances. Born in Chambéry in 1981, Capuçon began playing the cello at the age of five. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris with Philippe Muller and Annie Cochet-Zakine, and later with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. The winner of various first prizes in many leading international competitions, including the International André Navarra Prize, Capuçon was named ‘New Talent of the Year’ by Victoires de la Musique (the French equivalent of a Grammy) in 2001; in 2004 he received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award since which time he has received several Echo Klassik awards, most recently for his recording with Gergiev and for his recording of Fauré’s complete chamber music (October 2012).
Capuçon performs regularly as a soloist with the major orchestras worldwide, and is a favourite of conductors at the highest level including Gergiev, Dudamel, Bychkov, Haitink, Chung, Dutoit, Eschenbach, and Nézet-Séguin. In the 2011/12 season Capuçon received great critical acclaim for his debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic/Dudamel, the London Symphony Orchestra/Gergiev at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Montreal Symphony/Plasson and the Chicago, Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestras with Dutoit. In the 12/13 season he returns to orchestras such as LA Philharmonic, Seattle, Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Vienna Symphony and the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra with whom he will tour Europe. He also performs recital and chamber repertoire in the major halls across the globe including in New York, Washington, Tokyo and in Europe in venues such as Salle Pleyel (Paris), Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls (London), Great Hall (Moscow), Auditorium Nacional (Madrid), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) and the Musikverein (Vienna) where he performs as part of the Capuçons’ Brahms-Fauré chamber music cycle. In the 13/14 season, debuts include the Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bychkov, New York Philharmonic/Boreyko and the Staatskapelle Dresden/Eschenbach in Dresden and the Salzburg Easter Festival. He will also play with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Haitink at the Lucerne Festival.
A regular recital and chamber musician, Capuçon appears regularly in the major festivals across Europe, and every year at the Verbier Festival and at Project Martha Argerich, Lugano. He performs with leading artists such as Martha Argerich, Nicholas Angelich, Daniel Barenboim, Yuri Bashmet, Frank Braley, Gérard Causse, Myung-Whun Chung, Jérôme Ducros, Hélène Grimaud, Angelika Kirchschlager, Katia & Marielle Labeque, Mikhail Pletnev, Leonidas Kavakos, Stephen Kovacevich, Gabriela Montero, Viktoria Mullova, Menahem Pressler, Vadim Repin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maxim Vengerov, Yuja Wang, and his brother Renaud.
Capuçon records exclusively for Virgin Classics. His recordings include the Dvořák Concerto with Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Paavo Järvi, Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations and Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante with Mariinsky Theatre/Gergiev, the Brahms Double Concerto with his brother Renaud and Mahler Youth Orchestra/Chung, and the Haydn Cello Concertos with Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Harding. He has recorded several discs of chamber music including the Piano Trios of Mendelssohn and Haydn with Martha Argerich and Renaud, and the Piano Trios of Brahms, Schubert and Ravel with Renaud, Frank Braley, Nicholas Angelich and others. He has also recorded Schubert’s Trout Quintet, duo works with his brother Renaud, and with Gabriela Montero the Rachmaninov and Prokofiev Cello Sonatas. His next releases include a recital disc of music by Schubert, Debussy, Britten and Carter with Frank Braley, and Saint-Saëns First Cello Concerto and Muse et le poète with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Bringuier.
As a partner of Gautier Capuçon, Colas co-produced, along with Virgin Classics, his latest recording with Gergiev and participated in the purchase of a Dominique Peccatte Bow. Since 2007 Gautier Capuçon has been an Ambassador for Zegna & Music project, which was founded in 1997 as a philanthropic activity to promote music and its values.
Gautier Capuçon plays a 1701 Matteo Goffriller.
Gautier Capuçon is represented by Intermusica.
2012-13 season / 625 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
The Fauré Project / Wigmore Hall
“Gautier was superb in the First Cello Sonata, capturing its bleak, dramatic range in playing of great expressive power… The Second Cello Sonata bristled with vitality and had that recognisable hit of French sensibility that hovers on the brink of sensuality. [Nicholas Angelich] and Gautier Capuçon seemed to be feeding each other their lines in a magnificently dovetailed performance of the first movement, and the cello’s role in the lament-like slow movement was fiercely eloquent and inside the music… [In the second Piano Quartet], their playing in the Adagio summed up Fauré’s inimitable style of reverie, intimacy and melancholy with great refinement. The sort of playing that left you gagging for more…”
Peter Reed, Classical Source
, May 2013
Philharmonique de Radio France / cond. Bringuier / Salle Pleyel / Saint-Saens
“The highlight of the evening was Saint Saens’ Cello Concerto when conductor Bringuier now essentially became Gautier Capucon’s accompanist, following in his weightless footsteps. In turn both precise and poetic, the 32-year-old cellist united flexibility and mastery, which never hindered the phrasing of the music but, on the contrary, created an intoxicating sense of freedom.”
Laurent Vilarem, La Lettre du Musicien, January 2013
Chamber Orchestra of Europe / cond. Nézet-Séguin / Schumann
London Symphony Orchestra / cond. Gergiev / Wiener Konzerthaus / Tchaikovsky
“Between the two symphonies, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the young maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin gave the jewel in the crown to Gautier Capuçon with Schumann’s cello concerto in A minor Op.129. His performance was light and agile: the accompaniment at the beginning of the initial ‘Nicht zu schnell’ section set the tone for an interpretation that was very much in the vein of a chamber music performance. It was delightful to watch the cellist turning towards the orchestra in complete complicity, to pluck the beginning of his solos out of their sound. The end result was enchantingly lyrical, but never languid or sombre; a thousand miles from the all-too-often morbidly crepuscular performances of this piece. This was pure poetry.”
Alain Cochard, Concert Classic, November 2012
“30-year-old Frenchman Gautier Capuçon is, despite his tender age, one of the leading cellists of our time. […] Capuçon not only possesses with his 1701 Gofriller cello one of the most perfect instruments ever built, but he also knows how to get the best out of it. Already with the opening theme, he enthralled the audience by the sheer beauty of his playing.
The audience in the sold-out Konzerthaus went crazy after Gautier Capuçon ended his last variation at break-neck speed. Capuçon and Gergiev chose Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile as encore. Capuçon, with his stunning bow technique, can work magic!”
Wiebke Kuester, Concerto Net, May 2012
Wigmore Hall, London with Jérôme Ducros
“As a former pupil of Heinrich Schiff, Gautier Capuçon has absorbed his master’s formidable arsenal of bowing techniques. In the Bridge Cello Sonata he showed supreme control[…]
The scherzo erupted with an energetic brutality in this interpretation, making the ensuing greyness of the Largo all the more dramatic. Intense and tortuous anguish yielded to their evocation of whimsical irony in the finale, which concluded this compelling recital.”
Joanne Talbot, The Strad, May 2012
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra / cond. McCreesh / Elgar
“It was these intensely human features that young cellist Gautier Capuçon communicated in a performance of beautiful sincerity. His tone was firm and voice-like, and he tapped into the music’s emotional content without resorting to the various tropes of string solo playing.”
Michael Dungan, The Irish Times, April 2012
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / cond. Dutoit / Dutilleux
“…another Capuçon makes another brilliant Chicago début[…]
Dutoit was able to pull these devotions together with the CSO début of the highly-skilled and charismatic Savoyard French cellist Gautier Capuçon […]
Capuçon brought out the score’s every technical and emotional aspect in a performance both commanding and highly subtle of the composer’s 1967-70 Tout un monde lointain . . . (“A whole distant world . . . “).
Capuçon […] and his 1701 Matteo Goffriller instrument had every sense of volume, variation, and shading down cold and received total and attentive silence in the work’s involved pizzicato sections and long pianissimos followed by a loud and long audience ovation.”
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, April 2012
“Capuçon had special qualities of his own to bring to his performance on Thursday night. Not the least of these was the finely graded intensity he brought to the long cello recitative that begins the work and that soon evolves into rapid-fire interplay with the orchestra. The cellist's lean but penetrating sound and rhythmic acuity were matched by an abundance of lyrical feeling, particularly in the two slow movements. This was an altogether winning debut […]”
John van Rhein, Chicago Tribune, April 2012
“Capuçon’s poetic performance encompassed the inward-looking reflection as surely as the hectic bravura.
Playing an extraordinary 1701 Goffriller instrument, the French cellist coaxed a striking array of widely terraced hues and dynamics, with high pianissimos that hovered on the edge of audibility. Yet the soloist also brought a bristling propulsion and headlong excitement to the display passages, with a sense of hard-won solace in the penultimate section.
Capuçon received a vocal and enthusiastic ovation, all the more impressive for being elicited by this austere and enigmatic work.”
Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, April 2012
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia / cond. Pérez / Dvořák
“…exceptional performance by the cellist Capuçon in the concerto by Dvořák. An ideal interpreter for this piece because of his beautiful cantabile and his ability to extract the most noble sonority from an extraordinary instrument: a Matteo Goffriller of 1701.”
Julio Andrade Malde, La Opinión A Coruña, five stars, April 2012
Dresden Philharmonic / cond. de Burgos / Avery Fisher Hall, New York / Dvořák
“The orchestra's palette of color was featured best in the Dvořák, Frühbeck providing a sensitive accompaniment to the rhapsodic account of Gautier Capuçon. […] He has a gorgeous tone and impeccable technique […]”
Elizabeth Barnette, Classical Source, March 2012
Boston Symphony Orchestra / cond. Dutoit / Dutilleux Tout un monde lointain
“Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain (“A whole distant world”) for cello and orchestra, had young soloist Gautier Capuçon brooding against an orchestral backdrop of modern manifestations.
Thirty-one-year-old Capuçon, on his 1701 Matteo Goffriller cello — an instrument that surprised with its capacity for a good deal of power if […] — spun out the soul-searching circles of Dutilleux. Capuçon effusively seized the striving and the unattainable state that is everywhere expressed in the five-movement concerto-like work (dating from 1970).”
David Patterson, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, February 2012
“Capucon was calmly charismatic throughout, conveying direction and life in small details like his tightly coiled pizzicato but also flourishing in the many quiet floating passages, which he rendered with uncommon clarity in stratospheric registers.”
Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, February 2012
“Capuçon’s memorable debut highlights the BSO’s French-accented program[…]
… the superb cellist Gautier Capuçon, earned the biggest ovation of the night.
Making a memorable debut with this orchestra, the French cellist Gautier Capuçon held the audience in thrall with a simple eloquence that made one forget the music’s considerable technical demands—although the sound of his perfectly-tuned double stops was a reminder of the approximate intonation we’ve learned to put up with from some other soloists.”
David Wright, Boston Classical Review, February 2012
Wigmore Hall, London, with Renaud Capuçon & Frank Braley / Beethoven
“…the burnished warmth of Gautier Capuçon's cello sound a perfect match for Braley's bright, forward tone […]”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, November 2011
Philadelphia Orchestra / cond. Dutoit / Schumann
“Schumann's Cello Concerto […] feels a bit unfinished, requiring more than the usual intervention. Cello soloist Gautier Capucon, with his keen dramatic instincts and superb musicality, is ideal for this task, his clarity of vision overriding moments of audible labor in the wide-leaping cello lines. In close collaboration with Dutoit, he moved in and out of expressive blends with the individual players and choirs in the orchestra with an effect that was beyond mesmerizing.”
David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 2011
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / cond. Chung / BBC Proms, London / Beethoven Triple Concerto with Renaud Capuçon & Frank Braley
“Inevitably the stars were the Capuçon brothers, Renaud and Gautier, as violinist and cellist, the former effortlessly dispatching his double-stopping, the latter soaring lyrically, not least in the ravishing solo that opens the slow movement.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, July 2011
Los Angeles Philharmonic, cond. Dudamel / Brahms Double Concerto with Renaud Capuçon
“The Capuçon brothers were electrifying. The audience not only stood and cheered (audiences do that everywhere all the time), but people waved their hands exultantly in the air at the end, as if at a pop concert or sports event. For two hours Thursday night, sitting in Disney felt like sitting on top of the orchestra world.
The Capuçon brothers, who are French, play with an athletic yet rhapsodic verve. They are showy yet elegant, fraternally competitive yet able to speak with one poetic mind.”
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, June 2011
San Francisco Symphony / cond. Dutoit / Dutilleux Tout un monde lointain
“Like a great verse reader, he [Gautier Capuçon] was simultaneously alert to both the broad arc and the tiniest nuance. His acute sensitivity was perfectly matched by conductor Charles Dutoit and the orchestra. A unity of purpose prevailed throughout. Even when Capuçon played in whispers, they rose through the band’s transparent shimmers of sound. And when the volume and urgency peaked, both parties lit up and went for broke, together.
This greatly gifted cellist has the kind of tone that could make a listener swoon if he were only playing scales — a tone tender and bright, firm and deep, lustrous and sinewy. Still, gorgeous as it was, rising out of his dark-hued instrument, Capuçon’s sound was never an end in itself. In the opening movement — “...et dans cette nature étrange et symbolique,” for those keeping track of the Baudelaire lines — the soloist conjured a mood willful and quizzical, assertive yet yielding. His pizzicatos were plump and ripe. His glissandos, at the end, were dead ringers for a slide whistle. Humor and mimicry were another part of his endlessly strong game.
The performance made you want to immediately hear Tout un monde lointain all over again. And hear it played by these very musicians.”
Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice, April 2011
“The main delight of the program came during the first half, with the first Symphony performance of Henri Dutilleux’s “Tout un monde lointain ...” (“A Whole Distant World ...”). This 30-minute cello concerto, completed in 1970 for Mstislav Rostropovich and revised in 1988, turned out to be a fanciful and beautiful masterpiece – by turns dreamy and forceful – and the performance was sublime.
Dutilleux’s brilliant orchestral writing […] makes room for the soloist. There is no suggestion here of the one-against-many struggle depicted in the Romantic concerto; this is an amiable, genteel and always fascinating conversation.
Part of that gentility was due to Capuçon’s eloquent and tonally resplendent playing. It’s the rare performer who can bring such ease and refinement to this music, while still giving everything he plays a sense of dramatic urgency.”
Joshua Kosman, San Franscisco Chronicle, April 2011
Los Angeles Philharmonic / cond. Bringuier / Schumann
“The concert’s entrepiece was Schumann’s Cello Concerto, given a fascinating and powerful account by Bringuier and soloist Gautier Capuçon. The cellist, 29, made his Disney Hall debut the night before, but performed like a veteran in the hall’s lively, golden-warm acoustic. The body and clarity generated from his resonant, dark-toned instrument – a 1701 Matteo Goffriller cello – was thrilling.
Capuçon returned for a solo encore: a Prokofiev march, which he arranged, performed with the kind of virtuosity and flexibility more often heard on a violin.”
Rick Schultz, Los Angeles Times, February 2011
Philharmonia Orchestra / cond. Norrington / Elgar
“Capuçon carries his bold, generous sound and suave legato with great confidence. […] All held their breath for Capuçon’s encore, a graceful rendition of Saint-Saëns’s The Swan, with the help of Philharmonia harpist Hugh Webb.”
Edward Bhesania, The Strad, March 2011
“What Capucon gives us is very Gallic for sure with big and intense tone and much contrasting finesse. But Elgar thrived on his swagger and the scherzo, with fizzing rhythmic articulation in the bow action, was […] dashing and edge-of-seat. Richly drawn bows then marked out the slow movement and […] the great valedictory epilogue rolled out, ardent then fragile, the light fading fast.”
Edward Seckerson, The Independent, December 2010
With Gabriela Montero (piano) – USA Tour / Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA / Prokofiev, Mendelssohn & Rachmaninov
“In the Hollywood version of Tuesday night's concert at Benaroya Hall, Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero would be portrayed by Kate Winslet and French cellist Gautier Capuçon by Johnny Depp.
On the other hand, these two musicians have enough charisma to portray themselves.
…Capuçon's sound is just as distinctive: Plush and velvety, his plummy tone is upholstered by wide vibratos and embellished by dramatic tosses of his black locks.
Like actors who, despite the character they play, are always recognizably themselves, both Montero and Capuçon possess musical styles that are unmistakably their own.
The loudly appreciative audience was rewarded with the duo's transcription of Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise," a cotton-candy confection of airiness that drew a delighted "Bravissimo!" from the floor.”
Sumi Hahn, The Seattle Times, November 2010
With Gabriela Montero (piano) – USA Tour / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY / Prokofiev, Mendelssohn & Rachmaninov
“Mr. Capuçon and Ms. Montero are visceral musicians, his burnished tone complemented by her robust playing. Those qualities were again evident in the Rachmaninoff.
Mr. Capuçon imbued the cello’s lushly lyrical lines with myriad shadings and Ms. Montero tackled the more virtuosic piano part with aplomb — their richly warm approach was ideally suited to this exuberant, arch-Romantic work. The final movement unfolded in a blaze of color.”
Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, November 2010
With Gabriela Montero (piano) – USA Tour / Library of Congress, Washington, DC / Prokofiev, Mendelssohn & Rachmaninov
“With his chin-length mane of brown hair, his concentration and his tendency to fall back into his chair like a reclining Roman warrior at the end of particularly intense passages, the cellist Gautier Capuçon looked every inch the prototype of the romantic musician.
Individuals…with powerful gifts of self-expression. Capuçon, all Sturm und Drang and ardor, dug into the low strings of his cello to produce a loamy, rich sound.
Capuçon, meanwhile, exulted in the gorgeous lyricism of the second movement, and everyone exulted along with him.”
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, November 2010
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Fauré: Complete Chamber Music (Virgin Classics)
With Renaud Capuçon, Michel Dalberto, Nicholas Angelich & Gérard Caussé
“No.1. ‘Classical music’s top albums of 2011’…
A five-disc set in which first-rate French musicians tastefully survey the late-Romantic chamber music of Gabriel Fauré in vibrant and probing performances, one after another.”
Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, December 2011
“No.1 ‘Best Classical 2011’ – ‘Top 100 Albums of 2011’
…this outstanding set of solo sonatas, quartet and quintets features some of the best French musicians of our time: the violinist/cellist Capuçon brothers […]”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, December 2011
“Best Classical Recordings of 2011
Chamber works by Fauré are performed by a magnificent line-up of French and French-trained musicians.”
WFMT, December 2011
“Most convincing on the new set is the finale of [the Cello Sonata No.1], where Gautier Capuçon’s tone can really soar.
The reading of the Trio by the Capuçon brothers with Angelich is one of the best things here: fervent, joyous and weaving an aural coat of many colours in the Andantino.
…the cello’s famous Elégie and the Pièce […] are unfailingly beautifully conveyed.”
Harriet Smith, Gramophone, December 2011
“This all-French celebrity team approach Fauré with the seriousness of purpose he deserves. They power the music from within, strongly delineating the rhythms, balancing their roles with stylish naturalness.
Crowning glories include an incandescent account of the late Cello Sonata No.2 from Gautier with Angelich […]
Fabulous Fauré playing, with all the intelligence, strength of character and profound understanding that his still underrated chamber music requires.”
Jessica Duchen, Classic FM Magazine, five stars, December 2011
“An exquisite cast […]”
Dr Stefan Drees, klassik.com, five stars, November 2011
“A triumphant set of Fauré’s complete chamber music for strings[...]
Cellist Gautier Capuçon brings robust playing, with an earthy tone and a way with big rhetorical gestures, to the two cello sonatas.
In the Second Sonata Capuçon covers a wide emotional landscape with persuasive fluency. There is some magical sotto voce playing in the central movement, and terrific duo work with Angelich in the finale.”
Tim Homfray, The Strad, November 2011
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a rococo theme/ Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante (Virgin Classics)
Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, cond. Gergiev
“Capuçon's interpretation of the slow section of the scherzo is one of the loveliest imaginable [...] a performance that communicates with innate understanding. Whether quizzical, rapturous, pensive or demonstrative, Capuçon has full measure of it here in a performance of impressive stature.”
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, five stars, January 2010
Dvořák & Herbert: Cello Concertos (Virgin Classics)
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Järvi
“Gautier Capuçon gives a richly lyrical and sympathetic account of Herbert's concerto, reaching heights of eloquence in its beguiling slow movement and revelling in the virtuosity of the finale.”
BBC Music Magazine, March 2009
“This is not the first coupling of these works, but it is perhaps the most distinguished. The works have much in common and Gautier Capuçon makes the most of the music's melodic appeal. The Dvořák receives a powerful and intense interpretation with some superb orchestral solos to match the soloist's eloquence.”
Sunday Telegraph, February 2009
“Gautier Capuçon captures the [Herbert’s] rhapsodic ambitions and the lyrical charm of its slow movement perfectly.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, February 2009
Brahms: Piano Quartets (Virgin Classics)
With Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé & Nicholas Angelich
“Marvellously full-blooded accounts of some of Brahms’s most passionate chamber music.”
BBC Music Magazine, Recommended Disc, November 2010
“[...] performances here are both beautiful and individual, with passionate, rich-toned playing and infectious energy […] an easy first choice for a complete set of these wonderful quartets […] can hold their own with the finest available recordings.”
International Record Review, February 2009
Rachmaninov & Prokofiev: Cello Sonatas (Virgin Classics)
With Gabriela Montero
“My opinion of the French cellist Gautier Capuçon rises with every new CD he produces. Here, rapturously partnered by Montero on piano, he irradiates Rachmaninov's early, gloriously romantic sonata to the point where you just have to stop thinking and wallow instead in the composer's inspiration. That's not to suggest Capuçon and Montero go overboard: they simply find the right voice for Rachmaninov's passionate lines and nervous tension. A wonderful disc.”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, February 2008
Brahms: Double Concerto (Virgin Classics)
Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, with Renaud Capuçon
“Here's a very fine reading of Brahms's Double Concerto from the stellar young Capuçon brothers. They seem incapable of setting a foot wrong on disc and they put their considerable chamber-music experience to great use in Brahms's final orchestral work, with Gautier Capuçon proving an eloquent lead in the vehement first movement.”
Harriet Smith, Gramophone, February 2008
“There's something totally compelling about this performance of the Double Concerto from the first few bars, when Gautier Capuçon launches into the opening cello solo with a rhapsodic freedom and expressive abandon that seems to sweep all before it [...] exceptional Brahms playing.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, five stars, November 2007
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