Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Francois Leleux, oboe
Paul Meyer, clarinet
Gilbert Audin, bassoon
Radovan Vlatković, horn
The cast list of the ensemble Les Vents Francais reads like the „Who’s who" of the international Wind ensemble’s scene. Five immanent experts of their respective instruments have met to a soloist’s ensemble of top class. This dreamteam is not only “French” as it consists almost exclusively of French musicians, it also devotes itself with a special verve to the music of Maurice Ravel, Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Albert Roussel up to André Caplet. According to the repertoire the ensemble performs from two to five musicians and is completed by pianist Eric Le Sage.
Recent engagements include concerts at the Philharmonie Köln, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Mozarteum Salzburg, Copenhagen, Roma, Zürich, Brussels, Paris, Zagreb, Istanbul, Torino, Humlebaek, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Festival, Kissinger Sommer, Salon-de-Provence as well as tours to USA and Japan. Upcoming highlights will be at Mozartfest Würzburg, Audi Sommerkonzerte Ingolstadt among others.
Les Vents Francais are working on a continuous expansion of the repertoire for winds by premiering numerous works by contemporary composers such as Thierry Escaich, Thierry Pécou, Guillaume Connesson, Michael Jarrell, Misato Mochizuki, Fuminori Tanada, Donald Waxmann and Qigang Chen.
Warner Classics has shortly released five highly-acclaimed recordings: 20th Century Wind Quintets, Winds & Piano (Mozart, Beethoven, Poulenc, Roussel, Caplet; Rimsky-Korsakow), Beethoven Album, Concertante! together with the Munich Chamber Orchestra and lately Moderniste with music by Philippe Hersant and Thierry Escaich.
Their discography includes furthermore the complete chamber music by Francis Poulenc, the album “French Connection” with works for flute, clarinet and piano, the double album “Best of Quintet Music” which combines music for wood winds by French composers with repertoire of the 20th century for RCA Red Seal and EMI.
The Swiss and French flutist Emmanuel Pahud is one of today’s most exciting and adventurous musicians. He graduated from the Paris Conservatory with the Premier Prix after which he continued his studies with Aurèle Nicolet. At the age of 22 Emmanuel Pahud was appointed as Principal Flute with the Berlin Philharmonic and appeared with the orchestra performing the flute concertos by Marc-André Dalbavie and Elliott Carter. In addition to his engagements in Berlin Emmanuel Pahud enjoys an extensive career as soloist with orchestras and in chamber music with Eric Le Sage, Yefim Bronfman and Hélène Grimaud. He has made more than 20 recordings which have received unanimous critical acclaim as the flute concertos by Devienne, Gianella, Gluck, Pleyel, Dalbavie, Jarrell, Pintscher, Vivaldi, the complete work for flute by Frank Martin, J.S. Bach Sonatas for flute, Fantasy: A Night at the Opera as well as the album ‚Around the World’ for Warner and EMI. Emmanuel Pahud founded the Chamber Music Festival Musique à l’Empéri together with Paul Meyer and Eric Le Sage in Salon-de-Provence.
François Leleux’s pre-eminence as an oboist is internationally recognised but over the last twenty years he has in parallel developed a significant reputation as conductor, and is now in demand on the podium both with and without oboe in hand. Leleux is regularly invited by the world’s leading orchestras, festivals and concert series, both as soloist and player/director with repertoire ranging from baroque to newly commissioned works. The 2016/17 season reflects every aspect of Leleux’s performing life, including concerto performances with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra at the Beethovenfest Bonn, and Münchener Kammerorchester: as Artist in Residence with the hr-Sinfonieorchester in Frankfurt, with whom he will appear as soloist, conductor and chamber musician: and as conductor and soloist with Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich (with whom he makes his conducting debut at Vienna’s Musikverein), Camerata Salzburg, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, and Stavanger, Aalborg and Gävle symphony orchestras.
Paul Meyer studied at the Paris Conservatory and in Basel. In 1982 he won the "Concours Eurovision des Jeunes Musiciens Français" and in 1984 the "Young Concert Artists Auditions" in New York. Today Paul Meyer is regarded as one of the best clarinetists worldwide and performs regularly with the leading orchestras in Europe, USA, Far East and Australia. Paul Meyer is an active performer of contemporary music and many concertos have been composed for him including works by Penderecki, Jarrell, Chen, Berio, Escaich and Dusapin. His large discography emcompasses recordings by Mozart, von Weber, Copland, Busoni, Krommer, Pleyel, Brahms, Schumann, Bernstein, Arnold, Piazzolla, Poulenc, Messiaen for the Labels CBS, Sony, EMI, BMG, DGG, Denon and Erato which were awarded the Diapason d’Or among others.
Gilbert Audin is Principal bassoon at the Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris and teaches at the Paris Conservatory. This ambassador of the French bassoon and its prestigious school is in demand all over the world for master classes and international academies. Chamber music marks a particular interest for him. Gilbert Audin made his musical studies in Nîmes and at the Paris Conservatory with Maurice Allard. The Frenchmen won with 19 international competitions in Geneva and Munich and in consequence he won first prizes in Geneva and Toulon. For RCA Red Seal he recorded works by Haydn (»London« trios with Jean-Pierre Rampal), concertos by Jean Françaix and Marcel Landowski, quartets by Rossini, concertos and symphonies by Mozart and all chamber music of Francis Poulenc for RCA Red Seal and Sony.
Winner of the ARD Competition in Munich in 1983, Radovan Vlatković completed his studies of horn in Zagreb and Detmold. Vlatković is one of the leading horn players of his generation and has travelled the globe extensively as soloist and popularising the instrument. Chamber music is an important part of his engagements. Radovan Vlatković’s repertoire includes all music for horn from baroque to contemporary music and first performances of works by Elliott Carter, Heinz Holliger, Krzysztof Penderecki and works of various Croatian composers. His award-winning recordings with orchestra and chamber music for EMI, DECCA, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon and Denon feature the horn concertos by Mozart and Richard Strauss as well as works by Saint-Saëns, Britten and Leopold Mozart. The Croatian musician teaches in masterclasses and at the university Mozarteum in Salzburg and Escuela Superior Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Éric Le Sage
French pianist Éric Le Sage completed to study piano at the age of 17 at the Paris Conservatory and continued his studies with Maria Curcio in London. Prizewinner of several international competitions, Le Sage performs worldwide as as soloist and in chamber music. Highlights of his work are recordings with all music for piano by Francis Poulenc und Robert Schumann, which Le Sage recorded for Alpha winning the Annual prize of the German Record critics and the Grand Prix du Disque of the Academy Charles Cros. Together with Paul Meyer and Emmanuel Pahud he founded the Chamber Music Festival Musique à l’Empéri together in Salon-de-Provence. Since 2010 Éric Le Sage is professor for piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg.
Les Vents Francais perform at Mozartfest Würzburg a programme with music by Saint-Saens, Mozart, Beethovenm, Glinka and Rimski-Korsakov on 26 May.
Warner Classics has released a further album of Les Vents Francais with music by Philippe Hersant and Thierry Escaich.
Kissinger Sommer is featuring Les Vents Francais in trio and duo programmes with Paul Meyer, Eric Le Sage and Gilbert Audin in two concerts on 23 and 24 June. The Frenchmen perform music by Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, Poulenc, Bernstein, Hindemith, Beethoven, Glinka and von Weber.
The new album of Les Vents Francais with a Beethoven focus will be released on 7 April by Warner Classics: Apart from variations on Mozart's "La ci darem la mano" various duos and trios for wind instruments or horn and piano are featured.
The dreamteam within the wind ensembles performs two concerts in Schleswig on 3 July and Bordesholm on 4 July with music by Darius Milhaud, Maurice Ravel, Paul Daffanel, Ludwig van Beethoven, György Ligeti and Paul Hindemith.
These five high-caliber performers have a musical ambition they want to fulfill themselves - and an enormous desire for entertainment. The programme includes light-hearted concertante symphonies by Mozart, Devienne, Pleyel and Danzi. This music is neither obtrusive virtuoso, nor does it just splash away like that. It lives on sophisticated, parallel wind sections and on the fact that the soloists, as well as in jazz, also make passages solo, and for that the listener would like to give them an additional applause.
NDR Kultur, Margarete Zander, 18.05.2018
These five works are fine examples of the form, none of them plumbing any particular depths but each providing pleasant diversion. Virtuosity too, and it would be hard to find a more able, agile and fluent ensemble than Les Vents Français to do full justice to them. Paul Meyer’s clarinet, especially, gurgles, giggles and dances through works by Danzi, Devienne and Mozart, and Radovan Vlatkovic´’s horn-playing ranges from eloquent cantabile to breathtaking acrobatics. Both Mozart and Devienne spin sets of variations in their finales, allowing each instrument its turn in the spotlight.(…) The Munich Chamber Orchestra provide attentive accompaniment but it is the performances by this unparalleled group of soloists that mark out this exquisite pair of discs.
Gramophone, David Threasher, 15.06.2018
Les Vents Français, who already released several excellent albums, are a crack ensemble of distinguished solo performers in their own right.(…) This group is in magnificent form. They give us radiant, stylish and focused playing of impeccable musicality and elevated technical assurance, with instinctive feel for the works. One notes the subtle nuances and the delightful precision; nothing feels self-conscious. With playing of such evident relish, one never becomes satiated with wind tone.(…) This vivid exploration by Les Vents Français of fascinating Sinfonia Concertante music is entirely convincing.
www.musicweb-international.com, Michael Cookson, June 2018
Les Vents Francais form a remarkably well-balanced, clean and fascinatingly powerful unity. How various values are produced as if by magic in Milhaud's La cheminée du roi René and the middle movement in Hindemith's Small Chamber music seems to be dubbed delights the listener. Emmanuel Pahud and Paul Meyer meet in Jolivet's duo sonata as crazy chirping birds. Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin is also very speaking.
Kieler Nachrichten, Christian Strehk, 06.07.2017
Les Vents Francais stand for subtle wind chamber music. They recorded a pure Beethoven album, which sounds impeccably fine, spontaneous, accurate. The variations for oboe, clarinet and bassoon are examples. The fact that musicians who have experienced chamber music are joined here is heard throughout. A Beethoven album of the other kind.
www.concerti.de, Christian Lahneck, May 2017
Les Vents Francais, the all-star troupe around the flautist Emmanuel Pahud, approaches Beethoven's early work sportingly and expresses it expressively, but leaves it the youthful aura.
www.deutschlandfunk.de, Johannes Jansen, 07.05.2017
The formation Les Vents Francais with Pahud, Leleux, Meyer, Audin, Vlatkovic and Le Sage
astonished with a homogeneity of the overall effect (...).The interplay works perfectly in the
transfer of phrases and in the melodic imitation as in the Tutti and also humorous effects
with the desired drastic. All of them can "sing" wonderfully, without being sentimental.
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, MaS, 27.04.2017
The marvelous woodwind quintet Les Vents Francais again demonstrates brilliant ensemble playing of the highest level, perfectly complemented by pianist Eric Le Sage.
FonoForum, February 2015
Humorously, lively, elegant and perfectly played.
Hr2, November 2014
Especially the subtle play of timbres captivates.
BR Klassik, February 2014
Not only for woodwind aficiados an absolute recommendation.
hr2 Kultur, February 2014
Les Vents Francais
Music by Philippe Hersant and Thierry Escaich
Warner Records (2019)
Les Vents Francais
Munich Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Giglberger (direction/violin)
Music by Mozart, Danzi, Devienne and Pleyel
Warner Classics (2018)
Les Vents Francais
Works by Beethoven
Warner Classics (2017)
Les Vents Francais & Eric Le Sage, piano
Works by Poulenc, Farrenc, Caplet, Mozart, Beethoven, Thuille and Rimsky-Korsakov
Warner Classics (2014)
Les Vents Francais
Works by Ibert, Ravel, Jolivet, Milhaud, Taffanel, Ligeti, Zemlinsky, Barber, Veress and Hindemith
Warner Classics (2014)