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Pierre Amoyal (Violin, Conductor)

Born: June 22, 1949 - Paris, France

The French violinist (and conductor), Amoyal Pierre, was born in Paris of Russian origin and Sephardic Jews. When he was only 12 years old, he completed his studies at the Paris Conservatory (CNSM) with a First Prize. At 17, the prodigy left for Los Angeles to study with the legendary Jascha Heifetz, the only violinist in whom Heifetz invested a long period of close personal guidance. The two spent five intense years together (1966-1971), culminated by chamber music concerts and recordings with the cellist, Gregor Piatigorski. He won the Ginette Neveu Prize in 1963, the Paganini Prize in 1964, and the Enescu Prize in 1970.

On his return to Paris, at the age of 22, he was immediately engaged by Sir Georg Solti for performances of the Alban Berg's Violin Concerto with the Orchestre de Paris. This was his European debut, launching him on an international career, with appearances in all of the major European capitals (Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and Great Britain), as well as in the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America and in the Far East (including Japan), Russia and South Africa, in the most prestigious concert halls of the world. He has played with the greatest orchestras under the most important conductors of the last three decades: Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, C. Dutoit, R. Fruhbeck de Burgos, G. Herbig, E. Inbal, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Georges Prêtre, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, G. Roshdestvensky, Kurt Sanderling, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and Georg Solti, to name only a few. He was soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra of London, Hallé Orchestra of Manchester, and Berliner Philharmoniker. His worldwide success in a broad repertoire from J.S. Bach to his remarkable performances of concertos by A. Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, and the new Henri Dutilleux' Concerto His memorable first appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Maestro Herbert von Karajan in Berlin was followed by many further performances with this orchestra, including the German premiere of H. Dutilleux' Violin Concerto under Lorin Maazel. He is an annual guest with the major French orchestras. In North America, Pierre Amoyal has had notable successes with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and throughout Canada. In March 1985, he made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall to outstanding critical acclaim.

Highlights of the 1997-1998 season include an opening season concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, a tour of Japan and France with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony a tour in Israel with the Israel Sinfonietta, concerts in Sweden, Italy, France, and Canada, and recitals in London, Milan, and Tokyo.

His numerous recordings for Decca include works by Gabriel Fauré (with Pascal Rogé), Chausson, Franck (with the Ysaÿe Quartet and Pascal Rogé), as well as concertos by H. Dutilleux, Camille Saint-Saëns and Ottorino Respighi (Concerto Gregoriano, with Charles Dutoit and the Orchestre National de France). His most recent recordings for Harmonia Mundi include Grieg’s three sonatas and Johannes Brahms’ violin sonatas, all with Frederic Chiu, and René Koering’s Violin Concerto with Friedemann Layer.

Pierre Amoyal is also a passionate teacher. He was the youngest musician ever to be nominated as a professor at the National Conservatory (CNSM) in Paris. He taught there from 1977 to 1986. Following his move to Switzerland, he now teaches at the Lausanne Conservatory - High School for Music. Also in Lausanne, he originated in 1991 with the pianist Alexis Weissenberg the Lausanne Summer Music Academy. He continues to be the artistic director of this novel music academy, devoted exclusively to the violin/piano repertoire, which he gives annually with Bruno Canino. In conjunction with the Lausanne Conservatory (Haute Ecole de Musique) Pierre Amoyal founded the Camerata Lausanne, an ensemble made up of some 12 to 13 talented young musicians from around the world. The ensemble performs throughout Switzerland and Europe and at the major festivals in France. Since 2007, he is also the artistic director of the Kristiansand Chamber Orchestra, in Norway, with which he also often plays as a soloist.

Pierre Amoyal is a very touching example of a virtuoso whose exceptional talents never hindered his love of hard work, nor a development of the most essential human qualities. In 1985 Pierre Amoyal was named a Chevalier of Arts and Lettres and in 1995 was raised to the rank of Chevalier de l'Ordre National de Mérite. In 2002 he received the Prix du Rayonnement de la Fondation Vaudoise pour la création artistique. This virtuoso is also the lucky owner of the one of the most beautiful violins ever made: the famous "Kochanski" Stradivarius (1717) that was stolen from him in 1987, and which was miraculously recovered four years later (1991) by the Italian "Carabinieri". He uses and uses Peccate bows, c1800-1850, after Tourte.

More Photos

Source: Pierre Amoyal Website; Hexagone Website; Cypres-Records Website; Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2009)

Pierre Amoyal: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Pierre Amoyal - Concert Violinist (Official Website)
Pierre Amoyal (Hexagone)
Pierre Amoyal (Cypres-Records)

Pierre Amoyal - Biography, Siscography (Goldberg)
Pierre Amoyal (Wikipedia) [French]

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