The viola da gamba today!
From Tous les matins du monde to contemporary opera, the viola da gamba travels, questions and fascinates. As part of the European Early Music Days, Margaux Blanchard, violist and co-artistic director of the baroque music ensemble Les Ombres, and the violin maker Marie-Catherine Massé will enlighten you with music and images on the past, present and future history of a family of instruments unlike any other.
Duration: 45 minutes
Free admission subject to availability
Sought after for the generosity of her musical gesture, the violinist Margaux Blanchard is sought after by the musical directors Jordi Savall, Leonardo García Alarcón and François-Xavier Roth, and has performed at the Garnier, Bastille and Comique opera houses and in Versailles, Amsterdam, Cologne, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and New York. A complete artist, she has sung in opera from a very young age, and has an instinctive relationship with the stage. Singing guides her in her quest for the "ideal phrasing", dance inspires her rhythmic architecture, with the practice of keyboards, from piano to harpsichord, as a foundation. As a child, she discovered and was initiated into the playing of the treble and bass viol with Ariane Maurette at the CRR in Paris, and deepened her knowledge during her master's degree with Paolo Pandolfo at the Schola Cantorum in Basle, and outside with Jordi Savall, Marianne Muller and Jérôme Hantaï.
In demand as a soloist, chamber musician and continuo player, it was through her encounter with the Argentine harpsichordist and conductor Alarcón that she naturally turned to accompanying singers. He spotted her in 2005 at the Ambronay Academy, and in 2007 invited her to join the continuo of his ensemble Cappella Mediterranea. In 2008 she co-founded the ensemble Les Ombres, and in 2009 she was one of the youngest graduates. Since 2011 she has been teaching the harmonic and melodic duality of her instrument.
She is developing her network in Switzerland and France, and in Occitania she is setting up her ensemble with the flutist Sylvain Sartre, whom she met at the Schola. Together, they compose immersive performances that have made their group a collective in its own right, with a desire to reach out to all audiences for over ten years.
Marie-Catherine Massé discovered violin making as a teenager, when she went to a workshop to have her grandfather's violin serviced. After her baccalaureate, she joined the Bottega di Parma school in Italy, where she began her two-year apprenticeship. At the same time, she discovered baroque instruments, including the viola da gamba, which led her to West Dean College in England, where she studied violin making and historical research, as well as arching, carving, restoration and instrumental playing. After graduating, she joined London workshops to restore instruments, while maintaining a strong interest in making and working with violin makers.
On her return to France, encouraged by musician friends, she opened her workshop in late 2017 in the heart of Béziers. The workshop is dedicated to the making of violins, violas and cellos, and especially violas da gamba, while keeping a place for maintenance and repairs. The workshop expanded in February 2018, and then opened its doors in Ganges at the beginning of 2022, in a former hosiery factory specially fitted out to accommodate it. Marie-Catherine Massé is the winner of the Artinovart's competition in 2022 in the "Métier d'art" category.