Swiss girl from the Alps reaches new heights as a cellist
A small, inquisitive girl grows up in Salvan in the fairytale landscape of the Alps. The village is situated in the bilingual canton of Valais, where you can buy your bread in German or French. It is close to the French and Italian borders and the Lake of Geneva. Ski areas with glistening snow, steep pistes and glaciers lure the people from the Rhone valley. Based between the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn, the most beautiful and best known mountains of the High Alps, you never get bored.
Estelle spent more time in opera houses than on the ski pistes.
But Estelle Revaz, only 3 or 4 years old, spends more time in the opera houses of Geneva and Lausanne than on the ski pistes. At that very early age her music-loving parents already take her to the main opera houses of Switzerland, where she is absorbed by the performances. The young Estelle watches as Dorabella, one of the main characters in Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, takes to the stage. She grows still and takes it all in. She is completely captivated by the passion, the acting, the music and the instruments. She wants to be Dorabella, and with her mother she re-enacts Mozart's opera many an evening before going to bed. Estelle had to be Dorabella, in a roughly put together costume, and her mother played Fiordiligi, Dorabella's sister and Guglielmo's lover. Estelle explains passionately: "I just had to be Dorabella, not the opera's most intelligent character, but still, I thought she was beautiful; my mother would play Fiordiligi. I was still so young, I couldn't read, but I could feel. I felt I was Dorabella. My mother read all the opera's stories to me. I thought it was wonderful. When I went to the opera, I thought that all the women had real hair, instead of wigs. I didn't want to believe they were wigs." Wonderful young girls' dreams! That's how the village girl first fell in love with music and later became a cello student in Sion and Paris. It started when she was a little toddler in a big opera house, and now she is a world-class cellist who is conquering the world.
And later, after moving to Paris when she was 10, a new love came into her life: her love for the cello. "I immediately knew: I wanted to become a cellist!" And now, at the age of 26, looking back to the first four sparkling years of her international career, she feels satisfied. "I'm only 26. I make my own way, one step at a time. I developed my studies and my career gradually, and then after performing at 15, I was offered more and more concerts. Last year I gave 42 concerts, that was quite a lot."
The start of a promising career: Estelle performs her first concert at 15
Studying at 3 conservatories in Paris while almost effortlessly completing secondary education.
Estelle Revaz sets the bar high
Estelle Revaz, born in 1989, took a very early path to what later would become an impressive international career. She visited large parts of South America and Europe and gradually developed into a musical cosmopolitan. The self-confident Swiss cellist is very determined and seems to have developed her career meticulously. After studying cello at the Conservatory of Sion, she studied intensively in Paris. During these studies, she gave her first concert, at the tender age of 15. Estelle spent a total of ten years studying in Paris, where she stayed behind at the age of 15 when her parents were forced to return to Geneva. While in Paris, she studied at three conservatories. In the mornings, she attended secondary school; in the afternoons she had intensive cello lessons. From the age of 10 to 13, she went to a small conservatory in the fifth arrondissement. Then, from the age of 13 to 16, she attended cello lessons at the Conservatoire National de Région in Paris, and finally she went to the famous Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where she successfully achieved her Bachelor's Degree in 2010.
Estelle recalls: "In Paris it is possible for young, gifted people, who are also very good at high school, to go to special music classes in the afternoon. I learn a bit faster maybe than other students and later on I did my high school studies at home, and sent my homework by post to the school. It is difficult when you are on your own in Paris. I was lonesome and very young. For my cello studies I remained in Paris, where the teaching is soon extremely professional, but tough. You are very young when they let you in and there is a lot of competition."
Equally passionate for Chamber Music, Estelle has a particular affection for playing in recital Cello-Piano and Trios. She also joined the famous French cellist Gautrier Capuçon and the Armin Jordan's Camerata in the Vivaldi Double Concerto. She now plays regularly in numerous European countries and in very inspiring venues such as The Louvre in Paris; The Cosel Palace in Dresden, Germany; The Evaristo Felice Dell'Abaco Auditorium in Verona, Italy; or in Switzerland: The Victoria Hall in Geneva, or the Paul Klee Center in Bern. Estelle also played with famous partners in duo recitals. "I have just performed with Gérard Wyss, he is a very famous Swiss pianist and is still very much in demand.," Estelle Revaz says: "Wyss became very famous, because as a chamber music partner he played with many great names, like Rostropovich, the Austrian cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff, the Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses, and he also accompanied Cecilia Bartoli. He is a 70 now, and the concert we gave together was absolutely fantastic. I got a lot of energy and inspiration from him. I also played with the Russian pianist Irina Chkourindina. We played together as if we were twin sisters. We don't even need to look at each other while playing, we just feel each other through the music.".
Studying 6 years with Maria Kliegel in Köln: "She was my revelation."
"Before finishing my studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris I met Maria Kliegel, the famous German cello professor from Köln. I enthustically accepted Kliegel's invitation to come and study in Cologne. For six years she remained under the guidance of Kliegel. ""I was in the middle of my studies in Paris, but I had listened to a CD of Maria Kliegel, and I found it fabulous. So I wanted to do a masterclass with her in Atri, Pescara, Italy. When I met her, it was a total shock for me, positively speaking. We practiced Haydn C-major, and it was fantastic. It was so good the way she taught me. We also practiced Bach and Shostakovic. I was only 18 by that time, it was amazing. Then I studied for 6 years with her in Cologne. For me Maria Kliegel was my revelation. I did two Masters with her, "Cello Solo" and "Interpretation of Modern Music. I learned a lot. She really took me to a higher level."
"Being a soloist means being alone."
"I studied with Maria Kliegel every week for about two hours. The rest of the time I practiced on my own in my room. It is tough, but on the other hand it is my strength. I can really practice alone for many hours. I love practicing. That is my favourite pastime: so being a soloist means being alone. I wouldn't say every day is easy, but it also brings you a lot of joy. I have to study a lot of music, so there is no time for partying. Studying individually is heavy. I also started a 2-years-course of pedagogics at the Music school of Lausanne, which is very famous for that. I want to obtain my diploma in pedagogics, so that I can become a cello professor in a music school. At the same time I have to go on with my concerts, so it is quite heavy to study pedagogics and at the same time to do about 50 concerts a year. Al;though it also is very interesting, it is actually completely weird, but I know I can do it and I want it very badly. I need those papers to become a cello professor."
Cantique - Musical Masterpiece Estelle Revaz with Facundo Agudin
Painting by Felice Fillipini, called 'La caduta della Ballerina'
Cantique, a new CD about Inspiration and Swiss Culture
The first CD of Estelle Revaz, Cantique, produced together with conductor Facundo Agudin and the Orchestre Musique des Lumières, based in Basel, was released in September 2015. Estelle feels overjoyed with the final result. "It was fabulous, it was fantastic, a giga adventure. I have been working on it for 18 months. It is my baby. In the beginning you don't realize what it means to make a CD with an orchestra. Maybe better, because it is so much work. Facundo and I understood each other musically very well, so it was great. While brainstorming we had two themes in mind for this CD: the phenomenon of Inspiration and Swiss Culture. Inspiration is very important, not only for an artist, but for every human being. How does one get the inspiration to follow one's path and to find new inspiration, every time, every day again? How do you get the inspiration to continue your career, your job, your life? How on earth do you get the inspiration to get up early in the morning, to start your day and simply to start thinking more beautiful and get bigger ideas? One must always start again anew. I myself had a period of a few days after this big project, during which I felt empty, I couldn't find inspiration. That was hard. But still, you have to accept that and at a certain point turn a page of the book of your life."
"Swiss culture is very rich, but it is not known by many people."
The second theme of Cantique is Swiss culture. Estelle regrets very much that many people in the world are not familiar with Swiss culture. "I have been in Germany, France, South America, but no one knows much about Swiss culture, which is very rich. After all were are the country of the world-famous writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau." Rousseau, born in Geneva in 1712, was a pioneering philosopher, writer and composer. He had a profound impact on literature,pedagogy and politics. Rousseau composed seven operas and other musical works. He was one of the first people to write a literary autohobiography.
Estelle Revaz: "It is sad that in general not many people know much about Swiss culture. Switzerland has a very rich culture, and we wanted to emphasize that with this CD. A Frenchman often thinks that a French-Swiss artist, stands for French culture, and a German likewise thinks that a German-Swiss artist belongs to German culture. But not many people seem to really know Swiss culture, which is not only rich in music, but also in sculpture, painting and poetry."
|Facundo Agudin, conductor||EstelleRevaz, cellist|
"For Cantique we used the music of three different composers, whose music we interpreted according to the themes we had in mind. For example Ernest Bloch, who wrote 'Schelomo' (1916) is a very famous Swiss composer from the beginning of the 20th century. The public thinks that he is famous because he is German, but he is not, he is Swiss and became American at the end of his life. The piece Schelomo is a beautiful concert for a large orchestra and I wanted to emphasize that it is a swiss music piece. Then we interpreted music by Max Reger (Vier Tondichtungern nach Arnold Böckliin, Op. 128) and we transcribed music by Andreas Pflüger, which was called "Pitture" (Paintings, see video below, ) Because we realized that we have a lot of outstaning painters in Switzerland, such as Paul Klee, Seganti, Felice Fillipini, whose painting we see above here - ''La caduta della Ballerina' (The fall of the danser). So we asked Andreas Pflüger to compose music about 6 different paintings of 6 different painters: Paul Klee, Felice Fillipini, Louis Soutter, Adolft Wöfli, Giovanni Segantini and Carl Pflüger-Gottstein, who was the father of Andreas Pflüger."
Estelle continues: "For me there we two reasons to create the music with regard to the painting of the 'Caduta della Ballerina' by Felice Fillipini. First of all the colours of this painting are very impressive to me, and secondly, the movement as well. It implies that the danser falls down on the ground, which is felt quite clearly in the music. I love that,, that's why the Filippini painting is my favourite and also the muscial piece.The connection between movement and music is very great here. This story of the 'falling ballerina' is not just the fall of a danser, but might also well be the fall of a cellist. The piece is such a virtuoso performance, it goes so fast and is full of downwards movements. And I find those colours and movements, such extremities in art, of course extremely beautiful. If you can go beyond boundaries in that way, then you reach pure beauty."
Andreas Pflüger - Pitture (paintings), after the Felice Filippini paiting "La caduta della Ballerina."