Violinist Philippe Graffin has specialized in the classic repertory of his native France, unearthing forgotten pieces and playing new music as well as mainstream works. He has appeared several times on the Hyperion label's series of recordings of neglected Romantic violin concertos. Graffin was born in 1964 in Romilly-sur-Seine, France. Among his teachers was the Belorussian violinist Josef Gingold, who was a student of the influential French violinist-composer Eugène Ysaÿe; Gingold himself took on few students, and Graffin might be regarded as a pure representative of the French tradition. He has been a prominent concerto soloist across Europe, performing with, among others, the BBC Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest in the Hague, the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, the Czech Philharmonic, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. A noted chamber music player, he founded the Consonances chamber music festival of St-Nazaire, France, in 2015. Graffin's widest international recognition has come from his unusually vigorous and varied recording career. He appeared on a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra album conducted by Yehudi Menuhin, and in the late '90s began a long association with the Hyperion label, issuing an album of Ysaÿe's solo violin sonatas and other solo works in 1997. Many of his early recordings held to the repertory of which Ysaÿe was the primary exponent, including works by Chausson and Saint-Saëns. In 2002, he drew on French repertory as well for the album Rare French Works for Violin and Orchestra, featuring music by Canteloube, Fauré, the Americo-French Ernest Guiraud, Lalo, and Saint-Saëns. As Graffin's career has developed, he has performed and recorded an increasingly wide variety of music. He has performed and recorded little-known violin concertos by Fauré and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (of which he made the world premiere recording), and new concertos have been composed for him by Rodion Shchedrin, David Matthews, Yves Prin, Philippe Hersant, and Vytautas Barkauskas. He is also the first violinist to record (with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic) the Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61. Graffin contributed three volumes to Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concertos series, including a 2011 album pairing concertos by Baron Frederic d'Erlanger and Frederic Cliffe. But he has also recorded for a variety of other labels, including Avie, ASV, Onyx, Timpani, and Resonus Classics. In 2019 he released, with pianist Claire Désert, the French violin recital Fiddler's Blues on Avie. Graffin is a professor at the Paris Conservatory.
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