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.
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.
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.
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.
Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe was a Belgian virtuoso violinist, composer, and conductor. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tsar".
George Enescu, known in France as Georges Enesco, was a Romanian composer, violinist, conductor and teacher. Regarded as one of the greatest musicians in Romanian history, Enescu is featured on the Romanian five lei.
Henri Marteau was a French violinist and composer, who obtained Swedish citizenship in 1915.
Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht was a French composer, conductor and writer.
Henri-Gustave Casadesus was a violist, viola d'amore player, composer, and music publisher.
Jules Auguste Garcin [Salomon] was a French violinist, conductor and composer of the 19th century.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Octet for Strings in C major, Op. 7, is an octet composition for string instruments by the Romanian composer George Enescu, completed in 1900. Together with the Octet in F major, Op. 17 (1849) by Niels Gade, it is regarded as amongst the most notable successors to Felix Mendelssohn's celebrated Octet, Op. 20.
Gaston Poulet was a French violinist and conductor. He played an important part in the diffusion of the contemporary music of the first half of the 20th century. His son Gérard Poulet, born in 1938, is also a violinist.
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.
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.
Emmanuel Plasson is a French conductor.