Gautier Capuçon performs Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto with SFS

Bringing his widely-recognized passion and animated execution, Gautier Capuçon performs Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto, led by acclaimed conductor Stéphane Denève. Respighi’s Pines of Rome closes this program with its vivid Roman scenes, from children playing near a Renaissance villa to hymns vibrating through the halls of the ancient catacombs. This week at the San Francisco Symphony.

On Thursday, Capuçon performed an encore of The Swan by Saint-Saëns, transcribed for solo cello with string orchestra and harp.

In an exclusive interview with Cultural Currents, Gautier expands upon his mission.

Cultural Currents: What are the unique challenges of Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto?

Gautier Capuçon: The composer is often misunderstood. We must remember that he is contemporary of Robert Schumann, who also put together a very demanding concerto for cello.

CC: Have you worked with conductor Stéphane Denève in the past?

Capuçon: Yes, he’s a great conductor, and I’ve even been with him when he led the Brussels Symphony Orchestra. He’s a brilliant leader with the baton.

CC: How will you prepare for this performance?

Capuçon: First by rehearsing, of course. But then I walk around to shake off the jet lag. I go to a museum. And then I might jog by the Golden Gate Bridge. And look at the ferries. It is all very restful.

CC: Can you describe your “Cello Class of Excellence” coaching in some detail? How did you come up with concept?

Capuçon: Yes, it is my way of paying back all the great instruction I was given as a young player. Our program is supported by Louis Vuitton, and gives six students a chance to transcend their talents for a year of intense practice. Very hard work…but that is what playing at this level requires. For me, it is enormously satisfying.





Cello Concerto No. 1

Guillaume Connesson

E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare


Pines of Rome

The Cello Class of Excellence , created and directed by Gautier Capuçon, is a transmission project for the promotion of six talented young cellists from around the world selected for audition. For the fourth season, the Cello Excellence Class reinvests the Foundation’s auditorium. The six participants will meet there every month from November 2017 until the end of June 2018, for working sessions of three or four days. The Cello Class of ExcellenceIn the form of artistic and professional coaching sessions, students will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of musical work and to grasp the stakes of a career as a professional musician throughout the year, guided by Gautier Capuçon. The Cello Class of Excellence also receives speakers, to address aspects of a musician’s life, such as personal management of a career, the organization of work and a touring life, relationships with the press, stress management, lifestyle or physical problems. This harmonious mix of masterclasses and para-musical professional interventions allows each student of the class to develop at his own pace throughout the season through an experience that is both musically intense and humanly enriching. As part of the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s approach to disseminating and promoting artistic creation in all its forms, this project, unique in the world of residency and open to the public in a museum, is a true “musical laboratory”. The Cello Class of Excellenceaims to provide participants with an openness to genres, opportunities for dialogue and meeting with stakeholders from a wide variety of cultures and nationalities, and topics as diverse as media, health, stress or music creation. In an educational approach, the project is closely followed by, which captures and broadcasts, sometimes live, the masterclasses and concerts of the season. For this 4th edition, the Louis Vuitton Foundation commissions the composer Guillaume Connesson for a piece for 7 cellos. The work will be created during the closing concert on Saturday, June 16, 2018.