Théophile Édouard Laforge (6 March 1863 in Paris – 31 October 1918 in Paris) was a French violist and first professor of viola at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
The viola (; Italian pronunciation: [viˈɔːla]) is a string instrument that is bowed or played with varying techniques. It is slightly larger than a violin and has a lower and deeper sound. Since the 18th century, it has been the middle or alto voice of the violin family, between the violin (which is tuned a perfect fifth above) and the cello (which is tuned an octave below). The strings from low to high are typically tuned to C3, G3, D4, and A4.
The Conservatoire de Paris is a college of music and dance founded in 1795 associated with PSL Research University. It is situated in the avenue Jean Jaurès in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, France. The Conservatoire offers instruction in music, dance, and drama, drawing on the traditions of the "French School".
Laforge studied violin at the Conservatoire de Paris with Eugène Sauzay and was awarded first prize in 1886. From 1883, he was a violinist at the Opéra de Paris and in 1887 became principal violist. Furthermore, from 1887 he was viola soloist with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, now the Orchestre de Paris.
The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.
Charles Eugène Sauzay was a French violinist and composer.
A First Prize diploma in music is a high honor Diploma of Musical Studies, typically in performance or composition. It is awarded by European music conservatories and European-styled conservatories elsewhere. A First Prize diploma does not denote first in class, but rather, a very high level of artist proficiency. The typical period of study to earn a First Prize is one to two years. A First Prize diploma is sometimes wrongly described as being similar to a master's degree in music performance or composition. As of the mid-1990s, the degree in many European countries has been discontinued.
In 1894, he was selected as the first professor of viola of the Conservatoire de Paris. Indeed, 99 years after the implementation of the violin and cello programs, a class entirely reserved for viola players was created. Laforge devoted himself to his post until his death after a short illness in 1918.
During his career at the Conservatoire, Théophile Laforge initiated works for viola from composers of the time, also setting them as a requirement in partial fulfillment of a degree. More than a dozen works would be dedicated to him as well, of which the Concertpiece by George Enescu is the most widely performed.
George Enescu, known in France as Georges Enesco, was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher. He is regarded by many as Romania's most important musician.
In his 22 years of teaching, Laforge created a generation of new violists; notable students include Maurice Vieux (who succeeded him at the Conservatoire), Henri Casadesus, Louis Bailly, Paul-Louis Neuberth and Pierre Monteux.
Maurice Edgard Vieux was a French violist whose teaching at the Conservatoire de Paris plays a key role in the history of the viola in France.
Henri-Gustave Casadesus was a violist, viola d'amore player, and music publisher.
Pierre Benjamin Monteux was a French conductor. After violin and viola studies, and a decade as an orchestral player and occasional conductor, he began to receive regular conducting engagements in 1907. He came to prominence when, for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company between 1911 and 1914, he conducted the world premieres of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and other prominent works including Petrushka, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, and Debussy's Jeux. Thereafter he directed orchestras around the world for more than half a century.
Henri Büsser was a French classical composer, organist, and conductor.
Hélène-Gabrielle Fleury-Roy was a French composer and the first woman to win the prize for the Prix de Rome composition competition.
Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht was a French composer, conductor and writer.
Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe was a Belgian violinist, composer and conductor. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tsar".
Henri Marteau was a French violinist and composer.
Jules Auguste Garcin [Salomon] was a French violinist, conductor and composer of the 19th century.
Ernst Wallfisch was a prominent viola soloist, recording artist and pedagogue, primarily remembered along with his wife, pianist Lory Wallfisch, as partners of the Wallfisch Duo.
Lawrence Power is a British violist, born 1977, noted both for solo performances and for chamber music with the Nash Ensemble and Leopold String Trio.
Victor-Alphonse Duvernoy was a French pianist and composer. Duvernoy counts composer Alexander Winkler (1865–1935) and Norah Drewett de Kresz (1882–1960) among his students. His brother was singer and pianist Edmond Duvernoy.
Louis van Waefelghem was a Belgian violinist, violist and one of the greatest viola d'amore players of the 19th century. He also composed several works and made transcriptions for viola and viola d'amore.
Serge Collot was a French violist and music educator.
The Belgian-born French conductor André Cluytens (1905–67) was a prolific recording artist. His recording career ran from May 1943 to December 1965. Many of Cluytens recordings have since been re-issued.
Albert Seitz was a French composer and viola player.
The conductor Pierre Monteux made a large number of recordings throughout his career. His first recording was as a violist in "Plus blanche que la blanche hermine" from Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer in 1903 for Pathé with the tenor Albert Vaguet. His first recording as a conductor was the first of his five recordings of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. His last studio recordings were with the London Symphony Orchestra in works by Ravel at Wembley Town Hall at the end of February 1964. He recorded works by more than fifty composers. However, he disliked recording, saying of studio sessions,
You may give an excellently played, genuinely felt performance of a movement, but because the engineer is not satisfied because there is some rustling at one point, so you do it again and this time something else goes wrong. By the time you get a "perfect" take of the recording the players are bored, the conductor is bored, and the performance is lifeless and boring. … I detest all my own records.
Régis Pasquier is a French violinist from a family of musicians. His father Pierre Pasquier (1902–1986), a violist and his uncles Jean (1903), a violinist, and Étienne (1905–1997), a cellist, had founded a string trio, le Trio Pasquier. His brother Bruno Pasquier is a violist.
Pierre Lénert is a French violist. An international concertist, he is first solo violist of the Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris.
Michel Michalakakos is a French contemporary violist.
Olivier Charlier is a French classical violinist.
Marcel Darrieux was a French classical violinist, particularly known for premiering Sergueï Prokofiev's 1st Violin Concerto in 1923.
Serge Blanc was a French classical violinist. A child prodigy trained at the Conservatoire de Paris, he performed from the age of 11 in Paris with the Orchestre Colonne and the Pasdeloup Orchestra. He studied further at the Juilliard School of Music and played at the Tanglewood Festival. Back in France, he founded several chamber music ensembles and became principal of the second violins at the Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris. For several years, he conducted the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, but then returned to the opera orchestra. He taught at the Conservatoire de Paris, and edited Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.