Viola da gamba player Marianne Muller is active as a soloist and as a player in ensembles, several of which she has created. She is also an important educator.
Muller was an active participant in the revival of Baroque music in France. She attended the Schola Cantorum in Paris, taking a general early music curriculum, and at the end of her studies there, she decided to specialize in the viola da gamba, on which she was self-taught at first. She enrolled at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague for studies with Wieland Kuijken and received a soloist's degree there. Muller has performed with leading early music ensembles in France and beyond, including Les Arts Florissants, Les Nièces de Rameau, and Hespèrion XXI. Joining a group of musicians with whom she had already performed for some time, she formed the ensemble Spirale in 2005 and devoted herself to the exploration of the repertory for bass viola da gamba. Another Muller creation was the duo Les inAttendus, which she co-founded in 2016 with accordionist Vincent Lhermet; the pair has performed a wide variety of repertory. She is also a member of Les Fantaisistes, an ensemble specializing in music for viol consort. Muller is a supporter of contemporary music and has given world premieres of works by Bruno Gillet, Thierry Tidrow, and Eric Fischer. She has often accompanied dance performances, and she has appeared in stage productions with the company Docteur Lully et Mister Haydn.
Muller is an important educator who has trained many members of the younger generation of French historical performance specialists. She began teaching in 1981 in Toulouse and Cergy-Pontoise, near Paris, then at the Regional Conservatoire in Boulogne-Billancourt, and then, beginning in 1988, at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon. She often established the first viola da gamba courses offered at these institutions.
Muller's catalog of more than a dozen recordings has appeared mostly on the label Zig Zag Territoires and includes solo recordings of Suites en Ré by Abel, Telemann, and Bach, as well as ensemble performances of lesser-known composers such as Sylvestro Ganassi. In 2021, Les inAttendus released a gamba, accordion, and Baroque violin recording of Bach's The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, with flutist Alice Piérot.
© James Manheim /TiVo