Born in Liège, Eugène Ysaÿe (1858 – 1931) received his first lessons from his father, also a violinist. He soon became a pupil of Vieuxtemps and Wieniawski, and embarked on brilliant tours that took him to major European countries and the United States. He returned eight times to the American continent, where his success never waned.
But his life as a virtuoso should not overshadow his real contribution to the art of music. Indeed, Ysaÿe was a great pedagogue, and during the twelve years he devoted to teaching violin at the Brussels Conservatory, he passed on to his pupils an art and technique rooted in the great masters of the 19th century.
The creation of the concerts that bore his name was also an opportunity for the musician to promote the contemporary repertoire. Many composers dedicated one or more works to him, some for the quartet he founded. These include Chausson, Debussy, Lekeu, Fauré, Saint-Saens…
The catalog of his works is not very extensive, but reveals the sensitivity of their author. A Walloon-language opera, Pier li Houieu, broadens the repertoire of musical works in the Walloon language, as do 6 sonatas for solo violin and numerous works for violin and orchestra in a form he was particularly fond of: the poem.
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