Christian Ferras

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Christian Ferras

Mesaj  Admin Bir Ptsi Nis. 20, 2009 1:23 am

Christian Ferras 1965 on Southern Africa tour. Photo dedicated to tour organiser Hans Adler.

Christian Ferras (June 17, 1933, Le Touquet - September 14, 1982, Paris) was a French violinist.

Ferras began studying the violin with his father, who was a pupil of Marcel Chailley. He entered the Conservatoire de Nice as a student of Charles Bistesi in 1941, and in 1943 obtained the First Prize. In 1944 he went to the Conservatoire de Paris. In 1946 he won the First Prize in the both disciplines (violin and chamber music), and started his performing career with the Pasdeloup orchestra under the conductor Albert Wolff, and later Paul Paray. He worked with Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu, who also acted as an instructor. Ferras created the Federico Elizalde concerto, under the direction of Gaston Poulet, a group which signed up to the Decca music label.

In 1948 Ferras won First Prize at the international Scheveningen contest; Yehudi Menuhin was amongst the judges. He premiered the sonata for solo violin by Arthur Honegger in the Salle Gaveau on November 16, 1948. In 1949, Ferras won the second prize (the first prize was not awarded) in the international Long-Thibaud competition. It was at this contest that he met Pierre Barbizet, with whom he formed one of the most famous partnerships in the history of piano-violin collaboration. In 1950 he, along with Jean-Pierre Rampal and George Enescu, recorded various works by Bach. It was at this point that his career took off when he was invited by Karl Böhm to play with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1951. He subsequently gave a series of concerts in, amongst other places, Japan and South America.

In 1952, he premiered both Claude Pascal's violin sonata and, with Pierre Barbizet, Ivan Semenoff's double concerto. In 1954, he recorded Brahms' concerto with Carl Schuricht. This was his first recording which can be said to have been a veritable success. 1959 was a year in which Ferras rose to real prominence: he began his career in the USA by playing Brahms' concerto under Charles Münch; recorded Bach's double concerto with Yehudi Menuhin; played at the Prades festival with Pablo Casals and Wilhelm Kempff; and premiered Gyula Bando's violin concerto. In 1960 he premiered Serge Nigg's concerto, which the composer is said to have written "for the violin and not without the violin".

Ferras then made many recordings with EMI, including

Beethoven's sonatas for piano and violin with Barbizet (1958)
Berg's chamber concerto and his Violin Concerto, à la mémoire d'un ange ('to the memory of an angel')
He went on in 1964 to record Brahms' violin concerto with Herbert von Karajan under the Deutsche Grammophon label, and then the violin concerti of Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Bach, which are the recordings for which he is most admired. He continued to make recordings with Deutsche Grammophon: with Barbizet, the violin sonatas of Brahms, Schumann, Franck and Lekeu; and also a disc with Jean-Claude Ambrosini at the piano.

In 1975, he was awarded recognition by the Conservatoire de Paris for his works, and retired from regular public performance for health reasons. He returned to playing in Paris on March 9, 1982 with Alain Lefèvre and then on May 6 with Pierre Barbizet. He gave his last concert in Vichy on August 25, 1982.

In spite of the beautiful music he produced from his instrument, Christian Ferras struggled with severe lifelong depression. The illustrious career of this distinguished violinist came to a tragic end when he committed suicide on September 14, 1982.

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