An ensemble of highly trained musicians, mostly from the Orchestre de Paris, the Sirba Octet presents their own original take on traditional klezmer, Yiddish and gipsy music.
Member of the Orchestre de Paris since 1998, Richard Schmoucler trained at the Conservatoire de Paris under Gérard Poulet, Maurice Moulin, Devy Erlih and Alexis Galpérine for violin and Bruno Pasquier and David Walter for chamber music. In 1990 he was awarded first prize diplomas both in violin and chamber music. He continued to study under Ivry Gitlis and also with Maya Glézarova at the Moscow Conservatory, Tibor Varga and Myriam Solovief. Schmoucler has been awarded prizes by the Fondation Bleustein-Blanchet and the Fondation de France and is a regular soloist for the Auvergne and Toulouse Chamber Orchestras, the Pasdeloup Orchestra and the Orchestre Lamoureux. From 2010 to 2014 he was first violin for the ensemble Musique Oblique. In 2003, Schmoucler formed the Sirba Octet and has been the driving force behind the group’s progression and the production of their five albums. He has given various masterclasses and performances, notably at the Académie Festival des Arcs, PESM de Bourgogne and the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz in Poland. At his request, Kaija Saariaho composed Frises for violin and electronics and November 2012 saw the world premiere of the piece, which was dedicated to Schmoucler, at the Borusan Art Centre in Istanbul. In 2011 he became the director of studies at the Orchestre Atelier Ostinato. In 2016 he began teaching competition preparation at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Paris.
Christian Brière was awarded a Premier Prix in violin and chamber music at the CNSM in Paris. He then went on to study the Romantic repertory with Christian Ferras and Gérard Jarry, and worked with Jean Hubeau on neglected works by French composers. He joined the Orchestre de Paris in 1983 and was soon promoted to a first-desk position. He has appeared in concert as guest leader with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Erwartung, the Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard, and the Orchestre Française de Musique Légère, with which he participated in 1992 in a production of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat directed and performed by the actor Jean Rochefort. With Simon Schembri he forms a violin-guitar duo that explores the repertory for that combination, from Jacques Ibert to Astor Piazzolla. He was formerly leader of the Orchestre Lamoureux, and also appears with the tango ensemble Carrasco ‘H’ Quartet.
The son of a rock guitarist and a storyteller, David Gaillard came to music through oral transmission and improvisation. He was named top musician of his year in Jean Sulem’s viola class at the CNSM in Paris, winning the Premier Prix by unanimous decision with the congratulations of the jury, as well as the Premier Prix in harmony by unanimous decision and Second Prix in counterpoint, then entered the postgraduate course where he was taught by Hatto Beyerle, Veronika Hagen, and Bruno Pasquier. He was appointed professor at the CNSM de Paris in 2009. He is principal viola of the Orchestre de Paris, and also appears in chamber music with such artists as Christoph Eschenbach, Menahem Pressler, Olivier Charlier, and Marc Coppey, and is a member of the Les Dissonances quartet with David Grimal, Hans-Peter Hofmann, and Xavier Phillips. He still retains a keen interest in improvisation that has led him to join the quartet of Jean-Philippe Viret, which has appeared at the Paris Jazz Festival, among other venues.
After receiving Premiers Prix from the CNSM of Paris in cello and chamber music in the classes of Roland Pidoux and Michel Strauss respectively, Claude Giron set out at the age of twenty-one for further study with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, where she was awarded a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma. In 1994 she joined the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, moving to the Orchestre de Paris in 1998. Claude Giron also plays in quartet and chamber orchestra repertory (with the European Camerata and the Octuor de Paris among others), and has recorded a CD with the jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. She frequently toured Europe and the United States between 2000 and 2007 as a member of the American group Pink Martini.
Bernard Cazauran has been a member of the Orchestre de Paris since it was formed in 1967, and was principal double bass from 1979 to 2012. He was a prize winner at the Geneva Competition. He has often appeared in chamber music, notably with Daniel Barenboim, but also in the field of jazz with Basse Fusion and tango with the Carrasco ’H’ Quartet. He taught for 15 years at the CNSM in Lyon.
First clarinet for the Orchestre de Paris since 1995, Philippe Berrod also plays regularly with other ensembles as a guest soloist. His repertoire ranges from Mozart’s clarinet concerto to Dialogue de l’ombre double by P.Boulez. He was awarded a first prize diploma from the Conservatoire de Paris where he was tutored by Guy Deplus. He has also won a number of international competitions. He became a clarinet tutor at the Conservatoire de Paris in 2011. Berrod has released a number of recordings including Les Vents français on Sony Classical – Indésens and the album Art of Clarinet as well as two complete collections of chamber music for woodwind by Saint-Saëns and Poulenc respectively. These were well received in the press and nominated for Victoires de la Musique awards in 2011. Since 2010, Berrod has been artistic advisor for the French woodwind instrument manufacturer Henri Selmer-Paris.
After training at the Conservatoire de Paris with a series of first prize diplomas under Alain Planès for piano, Michel Chapuis for organ, Bruno Pasquier for chamber music and Jean Koerner for accompaniment, Christophe Henry honed his skills alongside Menahem Pressler at the Banff Arts Festival in Canada. As both a pianist and organist he has performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de Lyon and the Radio-France Choir at some of the greatest concert halls in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris and Vienna and at the Roman Theatre of Orange. In 2009, he was recorded playing Charles-Valentin Alkan’s pedal piano, a one-of-a-kind instrument displayed at the Musée de la Musique in Paris. In 2011 he played with the Quatuor Ludwig and in 2012 he appeared as a soloist with the chamber choir Accentus at the Mozarteum as part of the Salzburg Festival. A multitalented keyboardist and passionate jazz fan, he plays with and learns from pianist Emil Spanyi, vibraphonist Philippe Macé and drummer Georges Paczinski.
Iurie Morar trained at the National Conservatoire of Moldova in Chisinau (USSR) and won the Stefan Neaga competition there before continuing his training in France at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg under Detlef Kieffer.
Performing with various ensembles he has appeared with popular groups as well as symphony and chamber orchestras alongside artists such as Laurent Korcia, Sarah Nemtanu (with whom he has released a CD) and Gilles Apap (with whom he released the album Transilvanian Lointain Boys). In 2010 he made a guest appearance with the Orchestre de Paris to perform Stèle, György Kurtag’s Opus 33, conducted by Pierre Boulez. Morar is also an arranger and conductor and in 2012 formed Le Grand Orchestre for whom he has composed and directed two shows – Tzars, which is centered around Caucasian and Eastern European music and dance, and Atmosphère, which focuses on film music from Chaplin’s silent era to the Hollywood greats. He plays a cimbalom made by the Hungarian manufacturer Bohak.
Isabelle grew up in Paris listening to her mother’s vocal exercises, her grandmother’s scales and the marvellous stories that her father told her. She took to the stage for the first time with the Victor Cuno company in From Harlem to Broadway, and then performed in Marilyn de Montreuil, Chère Daisy, Happy Feet, Phi Phi and La Crise est Finie, thus becoming a “triple threat:” a singer, dancer and actress.
Isabelle played a string of lead roles, in Barnum (J. P. Lucet/Les Célestins, Lyon), Le Passe Muraille (M. Legrand/Les Bouffes Parisiens, Paris), Nymph Errant (R. Redfarn/Chichester Festival UK), Singin’ In the Rain (J. L. Grinda/ORW Belgium & Théâtre de la Porte Saint Martin, Paris), La Périchole (J. Savary/Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris), L’Air de Paris opposite Patrick Dupond (T. Harcourt/Théâtre Le Comédia, Paris), Et Si On Chantait (D. Bréval/Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris) and Titanic the Musical (J. L. Grinda/ORW, Belgium), where she met Maury Yeston and Frederik Steenbrink. Together with Frederik Steenbrink, she wrote and performed Une Étoile et Moi (a tribute to Judy Garland), in Paris, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2005 (where she won The Fringe Award for best singer), on tour in England, in Holland, at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2007 (Australia) and at the Théâtre Antoine in 2011, directed by Eric Métayer.
She produced and performed the French version of December Songs by Maury Yeston (with French lyrics by Boris Bergman), at the Théâtre du Renard in Paris and at the Avignon Festival. She recorded the album at Nola Studio, and performed it at Tower Records, New York, for its launch by PS Classics.
Back in France, Isabelle recorded Something to Live For, with acclaimed French jazz pianist René Utreger, and played opposite Jean-Claude Dreyfus in Gerald Garutti’s adaptation of Petit Traité de Manipulation. She wrote and performed La French Touche at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Du Shtetl à New York with Sirba Octet at the Île-de-France Festival, at Théâtre de l’Européen in Paris, La Cigale in Paris, at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (Germany) and at the Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
With Josette Milgram, Isabelle crafted and directed Cabaret Terezin, based on cabaret songs written in the Theresienstadt ghetto (with French lyrics by Boris Bergman), at the Théâtre Marigny in Paris.
With Richard Schmoucler, she conceived Yiddish Rhapsody which she performed with Sirba Octet and the Pau Symphonic Orchestra, first at the Palais Beaumont in Pau and La Cigale in Paris, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées then at the Liège Salle Philharmonie in Belgium in 2015.
Inspired by Daniel Klajner, she considered Norbert Glanzberg’s biography, and with Jean-Luc Tardieu’s help, wrote Padam Padam, one of the biggest successes in Paris in 2010-2011 (Théâtre La Bruyère, Théâtre des Mathurins and Théâtre de La Gaîté Montparnasse.)
Isabelle was the special guest of Victoires de la Musique Classique, special guest of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Chorégies d’Orange, and special guest of the Radio Classique Festival in Olympia. Isabelle won the Charles Oulmont Foundation prize 2011.
The balalaika is the musical symbol of Russia. This small triangular instrument with three strings produces a surprising and fascinating sound. On stage, Nicolas Kedroff extracts intelligence, virtuosity, tears and humour from it. Born into a family of famous Russian artists, he is a balalaika player of international repute. He was awarded second prize in the Northern Cup competition (Russia), and is now active both in concert and as a teacher. He has appeared at the Russian cabarets Raspoutine and Balalaïka in Paris and in many venues and prestigious festivals in France and abroad. He has performed alongside Ivan Rebroff, Mikhail Rozhkov, and the Ferré brothers, and before renowned artistic and political personalities, in countless special events and radio and television broadcasts, and with many ensembles including the orchestras of the Operas of Lausanne, Anger-Nantes, and Lyon, and the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra. Nicolas Kedroff has recorded some thirty discs and has been appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The press has called him ‘a virtuoso on his instrument’ and even referred to him as the ‘extra-terrestrial of the balalaika’.
Trained as a pianist and composer at the Strasbourg Conservatoire and the CNSM de Paris, Cyrille Lehn soon found himself attracted to improvisation, which he practises in very varied forms: recitals, accompanying silent films, concerts, and musical shows. His compositions have been featured on the programme of such notable venues as the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Festival de Radio France et de Montpellier, and the Festival de l’Emperi. He is fascinated by folk music and jazz, and has collaborated with the Sirba Octet since it was founded. Cyrille Lehn is professor of harmony at the CNSM de Paris and teaches improvisation at the Conservatoire du 14e Arrondissement.