Les Violoncelles Français

It was the desire to make music together, stimulated by perfect mutual understanding and a sense of sharing, that prompted eight leading figures of the French school of cello (Emmanuelle Bertrand, Eric-Maria Couturier, Emmanuel Gaugué, Xavier Pidoux, Raphaële Pidoux, Nadine Pierre and François Salque) to launch this project.
During the 18th century, the viola da gamba was the chief instrument to perform in consort, small groups of instruments from the same family but of different sizes, reproducing the various tessitura of the human voice: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The result was a smooth and seeping sound that created a remarkable polyphony thanks to rich and minutely nuanced combinations. When the cello established its supremacy over the viola da gamba, the virtuosic element became a dominant feature over the ability to play in harmony.
As this 21st century begins, Les Violoncelles Français want to pay a tribute to the polyphony of the old days’ violas da gamba, enriching it with the technique specific to the cello playing. Using the cello’s four-octave range offers the possibility of taking emotional and technique risks. As a matter of fact, the potential of the cello revealed here is incredible: pure richness of the tones, power and nobility…
Their repertoire consists of transcripts never before heard of and selected from a wide range of composers, from Monteverdi to Wagner. These transcripts are then further glorified by the transcriber Roland Pidoux.
They have been acclaimed by their audience and by the critics ever since they played their first concert at the “Folles Journées” in 2009. Since then, they perform at numerous festivals such as Fontevraud, Beauvais, Auvers-sur-Oise, Bourg-Madame, Castres, La Vézère and the Amsterdamse Cello Biënnale.

Les Violoncelles Français have recently released their first record “Méditation” for the label Mirare.


We are convinced that all the cellists involved, who are taking the role of soloist one after another, are more than aware of the nature of what they are offering. It is a radiant and poetic presentation, moving and poignant at the same time, which aims at being consumed immediately, with abandon in order to seize this sublimed instant.
Res Musica

Roland Pidoux transformed the tocatta into a tutti for eight overexcited cellists on the verge of nervous breakdown. Not satisfied/ contented/ with that, he imagined the fugue as a bursting polyphony, almost deconstructed. The result sounds as/like a delicious irreverence and it really feels good!”
Marie-Aude Roux- Le Monde

Bloch, Casals, Wagner, Tchaikovsky…Transcriptions pour octuor de Violoncelles