One of a pair of violin-playing Romanian-French sisters -- Deborah Nemtanu is her younger sibling -- Sarah Nemtanu has become a fixture of the French orchestral scene thanks to her solo appearances with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, where she served as joint concertmaster for many years. She has made duo concerto appearances with Deborah Nemtanu but has maintained an independent career. Sarah Nemtanu was born in Romania in 1981 and shortly after that immigrated with her family to France, where her father, Vladimir Nemtanu, had taken a post of principal violin of the Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra. Sarah had her first lessons with her father. In 1993 she was heard by Gérard Poulet, professor of violin at the Paris Conservatoire, and began taking lessons with him. She was admitted to the Conservatoire in 1997, studying with Poulet (violin) and Pierre-Laurent Aimard (chamber music), and winning top prizes at graduation in both fields. Nemtanu began to concertize regularly in Paris and won the Maurice Ravel First Prize at the Saint-Jean-de-Luz competition in 1998 and third prize at the Antonio Stradivarius competition in 2001. By that time she had already made her formal debut in the Brahms Double Concerto, Op. 102, with Gautier Capuçon, under the baton of Emmanuel Krivine, in December of 2000. Nemtanu performed a concert in 2002 under conductor Kurt Masur with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and was subsequently named as joint concertmaster and as featured soloist; the latter was a position also held by her sister. Since then, Nemtanu has performed under such conductors as Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, and Riccardo Muti, and has performed, among other places, at Century Hall in Tokyo and Carnegie Hall in New York. Nemtanu's recording career began in 2000 with Gypsic, a collaboration with Canadian crossover experimentalist Chilly Gonzales. She has recorded for Naïve and Naxos; the latter album was a compilation of concertos by Lebanese composer Bechara El Khoury. Sarah and Deborah Nemtanu recorded several albums together in the 2010s: Bach and Schnittke double concertos for Naïve, Bartók's 44 Duos for Decca, and, in 2018, the Martinu Concerto for two violins and orchestra, H. 329, for PentaTone Classics.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Classical - Released August 5, 2014 | Naxos
Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.
Béla Bartók composed his 44 Duos for two violins primarily as a pedagogical series for young students, but the collection has become increasingly popular with accomplished violinists for recordings and as recital fare, and it is usually played in its entirety, due to the brevity of the individual pieces. Sarah and Deborah Nemtanu present the 44 Duos on their debut album for Decca, and their eloquent and highly expressive playing proves that the work is as musically satisfying as the artistry they bring to it, and as listenable as Bartók's Mikrokosmos for piano, another work for students written in the same period. On the surface, these pieces may seem simplistic and almost naïve in their melodic contours and harmonies, though Bartók based them on folk songs and dances that he had collected, and the sisters take the Magyar and other ethnic flavors into account. All the same, their interpretation overall is lyrical, thoughtful, and abstract, and its smooth continuity and the studio acoustics prevent the start-stop feeling one finds in other less-polished performances. © TiVo