click for larger images

Zoé Saubat - cello


1. What drew you to the Cello in the first place?

I was 6 when I first saw a cello and I was totally fascinated. I knew that was the instrument I wanted to play at the first sight, it was like falling in love with someone.

2. You won first prize at the UFAM’s competition in 2001, aged 11. Can you tell us more about this competition and what you remember of the day and which pieces did you play?

I remember that I played a concerto by Davidoff and an other piece by Eccles. It was a very particular day for me, I was quite young but I still remember my happiness when I won and aso the feeling of confidence I had on stage, because I was quite young and I didn’t feel so much the stress.

3. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

I admire Jacqueline Du Pre a lot, because of her deepness and her joy when she plays. She has an unbelievable way of showing her feelings. Rostropovitch and Maiski are two of my favourite musicians. They are both very free in their playing, they can do whatever they want with their cello, and express every kind of feelings.

4. In 2005 you went to Paris to study with Romain Garioud, a world-recognized concertist. What are your abiding memories of the man and how was it like it to be tutored by him?

Romain is a great teacher. He is an incredible cellist and he is really passionate about teaching. He is very demanding but this is a good thing. I learned a lot from him.

5. What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

Each time I play on stage is a fabulous experience. More particularly, I remember that I played in an old-people house, and it was very strong to see them crying, coming after the performance and say that they felt alive.

Also, I love practising with demanding musicians, as Emre Engin and Oxana Schevshenko, it is an enlightening experience.

6. In 2009 you specialized with Hélène Dautry at the Conservatoire of Paris where you obtained your prize of ‘perfectionnement concertiste’ with congratulations in June 2011. Can you tell us more about this lady, this time and this prize please?

Hélène Dautry is one of the most famous teacher in France. She is, as Romain Garioud, full of passion and always teaches you something new. Each lesson is different. I obtained this price at the end of my study in the Conservatoire of Paris. It was very satisfying to end the Conservatoire with such a good mention.

7. Is your family musical?

My family is not musical at all. My mother loves music and gives very good advices even she doesn’t play any instrument. And all my family is very supportive.

8. You collaborate with the pianist Laïla Barnat with whom you have formed the duo ‘Kliho’. How did the idea develop and what is the origin of the name please?

I met Laila Barnat in 2006. We come from the same town and finished our studies in Bayonne at the same time, with the highest mention. The conservatoire gave us a price, which was a concert in a festival. After this first concert in 2007, we decided to keep playing together. ‘Kliho’ was the name of this festival so we chose this name as a tribute.

9. How often and for how long do you practice?

I practise everyday. I have to balance my personal practise with plenty of chamber music rehearsals. Ideally, I practise 4 hours a day and have at least 2 hours of rehearsals.

10. You have had master classes and shared the stage with an impressive range of musicians? Any memorable anecdotes you can share with us concerning these musical partnerships?

Master-classes with high-standing musicians are first of all a meeting with exceptionnal personalities. It is sometimes difficult to face their critics in front of an audience ( in public master classes) but they are generally very generous and they share all their knowledge.

11. How much free time do you have? Is it enough and what do you do in your recreation time?

I have some free time but not so much. Some periods are particularly intense (most of the year) but I really do my passion so it’s not an effort even if it’s tiring sometimes. When I have some recreation time, I love doing other things: see an exhibition, read, go out with friends, go to the cinema.. I love all the aspects of every art.

12. Is there one piece you still would like to perform?

I would love to play the Sinfonia Concertante of Prokofiev.

13. Have you or would you like to teach music?

I love teaching music. I think this is an essential part of what we do, and I think music is essential for everyone. Playing an instrument is such a good way to express what you feel. I think teaching will be an important part of my professional life.

14. You also participated in the creation of contemporary dance piece called ‘La Follia’ with the Chantier’s company which played all around France. Can you tell us more about this collaboration and company please?

This was a very creative collaboration. I stayed with this dance company for a year. We created everything in this piece: music and dance. It was quite a big job but it was fascinating. I had to learn how to improvise and it’s rare for a classical musician to improvise and to create something totally new. Generally, we have a score and we have to express our own feelings but everyting else is written. Working with dancers was also very new. It’s a very different world from the musicians’ one, it’s always to experience something new.

15- You played at the Wigmore Hall with your string quartet in April 2012. Can you introduce the other players for us please?

I played at the Wigmore Hall with the Danchin Quartet, with Clara Danchin, Fiona Robertson and Jordan Bergmans. Clara and Fiona are violonists, currently studying at the Royal College of Music, and Jordan is a viola player, doing a Master at the Royal Academy of Music. We were selected to play at Wigmore Hall after a course in Manchester.

16- You also founded the Andromeda trio, with Benjamin Carré and Francesco Ionascu and this grouping will participate in the Parkhouse Award competition in April 2013. Can you tell us more about your fellow players and this recent competition please?

Benjamin Carre, piano and Francesco Ionascu, violin are both studying at the Royal College of Music. We met in September 2011 and decided to play together. The Parkhouse Award is a competition, located at the Royal College of Music.

17- You are also part of the Brillig Ensemble, which is an orchestral ensemble without any conductor. Can you tell us more about this ensemble and the thinking behind it please?

The Brillig Ensemble is a small orchestral ensemble without any conductor, so basically we are a few players ( 2 cellis, 4 first violins...), and during rehearsals, everyone can say what he thinks about the score, what we might do... It is like a chamber music ensemble but a little but bigger. It was founded by musicians who wanted to play together and who wanted to express their ideas about interpretation, without a conductor leading everything.

To return to Zoé’s profile:

submission July 2013