Born: October 13, 1911 - Biarritz, France
Died: July 31, 1988 - Siena, Italy
The noted French cellist and music pedagogue, André (-Nicolas) Navvara, was born into a musical family. At the age of seven he began studying singing as well as cello. When he was only nine years old, he was accepted as a student at the Toulouse Conservatory, from where he graduated with first prize in 1924. He then studied for two more years with Jules Leopold-Loeb (cello) and Toumemire (chamber music) at the Paris Conservatory, where at the age of fifteen he took first prize. In his youth, Navarra was an athlete as well as a cellist, being an expert middle-weight boxer and swimmer.
In 1929, at the age of eighteen, André Navarra joined the Kretly String Quartet, and performed with them for the next seven years. His solo debut was with the Colonne Orchestra in Paris in 1931, when he performed the Lalo Concerto. In 1933 he became principal cellist of the Grand Opera Orchestra. He appeared as a soloist with various European orchsestras.
World War II halted his career from 1939 to 1945, when André Navarra left his cello in its case, and served in the French infantry. After the war he continued concertizing, and toured the world, playing with the great conductors of the era. His recording of the Edward Elgar Concerto with John Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra is considered a classic. He gave premiere performances of cello concertos by Jolivet (1962) and Tomasi. (1970).
André Navarra was professor of cello at the Paris Conservatory from 1949 and at the North West German Music Academy from 1958. He also taught in Siena (1954-1988), London and Vienna. Many of his students have become well-known cellists, for example, Heinrich Schiff, Johannes Goritsky and Susan Sheppard.
A series of recording's from the French label Calliope has been published and there is some good playing on these disc's (Bach Suites, Camille Saint-Saëns, Schubert, etc.) He also produced LP's for the Capitol label in the 1950's (not yet re-issued on CD). The French label Dante has brought out four very excellent disc's from the 1940's.