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Capuçon is not a demonstrative artist. 'When you see a simple house that you fall for, you don't see all the artificial trimmings and decorations. Music should be like that, and you perform what you see on the manuscript paper keeping it straightforward, simple and expressive at the same time.' Rostropovich's dramatic sweeps of the bow accompanied by facial expressions, or Tortelier's accident prone antics when adjusting his instrument's steel pin into a rickety raised platform, with -- on one occasion -- the bow's horsehair snapping under the strain of a fierce fortissimo attack, are definitely not in the young man's makeup.

'I first discovered the cello when I was four and a half. My parents were not at all musical, but I was at a French Festival where there were thirty concerts -- one each evening for a month. My brother, sister and I all took along our instruments. My sister is ten years older than me. She played the piano, but unfortunately she has now stopped. Like my brother, I started on the violin too, for about a month. I really hated it, but I don't know why. Then I had a cello in my arms, and couldn't explain it -- I just felt it.

'My first teacher stayed with me for about three years. She was very passionate, and I loved it. My next teacher saw that I was progressing rather too quickly. I was progressing too fast, so he kept me on scales and exercises -- but he was mainly part time. Then I went to Paris and studied with Annie Cochet at the Conservatoire Nationale School, and teamed up with the pedagogue Philippe Mueller. I was there for five years.

'In Vienna, I met up with Heinrich Schiff. He and Mueller had different styles of playing, including their approach to music. It was great, because both studied under André Navarra, yet were fine players whose ideas I could draw on for my own purposes.' Navarra was reputed to be a teacher with a violent temper when he disagreed with students. 'Both my teachers were kind, loved their work and gave me much advice.'

A new recording will be released in 2002 of the Ravel Trio and Sonata for violin and piano, while participating with other performers continues to be high on the list of priorities.

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Copyright © 18 April 2002 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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