Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
S O L E D A D - www.soledad.be
Manu Comté, accordion - Jean-Frédéric Molard, violin - Alexander Gurning, piano - Patrick De Schuyter, guitar - Sam Gerstmans, double bass – Michel Seba, percussion
After four albums on Virgin Classics/EMI, and a Live album on Enja, Soledad will release a new album Soledad plays Soledad in september 2012. It included new compositions by the members of the group as well as a collaboration with the great singer Maurane. SOLEDAD started in 1995 as one of the first ensembles to perform the music of Piazzolla in a fresh new way, as well as adding new repertoire of a wide range of composers from different horizons. They rapidly established a solid reputation on the international scene getting standing ovations everywhere. Soledad performed at classical festivals like La Roque d'Anthéron, Lugano festival, Flanders Festival, Beppu Festival/Japan, Argerich Festival/Taipei, Domaine Forget/Canada, as well as jazz festivals like Festival de Montreal, Veneto Jazz, Euromeet Jazz, Audi Jazz Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival, and famous concert halls: Palais des Beaux-Arts/Brussels, Suntory Hall/Tokyo, the ‘Grand auditorium du Palais' in Cannes, Amsterdam Concertgebouw grote zaal. With their impressive playing, communicating enthusiasm and through the beauty of the music, the musicians of SOLEDAD fascinate every public and are reinvited wherever they perform.
The ensemble SOLEDAD was born in 1995, when five young students in Brussels discovered a common passion for the music of Astor Piazzolla. Being one of the first ensembles to specialize in the interpretation of the Tango Nuevo’, with a line-up of accordion/bandoneon, violin, piano, guitar and double bass, their personality combining virtuosity and vibrant emotion aroused the interest of several contemporary composers like Frederic Devreese, Alberto Iglesias and Daniel Capelletti, and also brought the musicians of the group to the write their own arrangements, coloured by their various influences.
The first concerts of Soledad immediately seduced both public and press and their reputation quickly spread in Belgium and abroad, and they recorded a first album on Chamber, “Soledad plays Piazzolla”, in 1998.
In January 2002 Soledad was chosen to close the ceremony of the “Victoires de la Musique” in a direct broadcast show on TV channel France3. The group was nominated “Best Young Musician of the Year” by the Union of the Belgian Musical Press. After one of their concerts in the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels they met Martha Argerich who was very impressed by Soledad and invited them to perform on various international scenes. End 2002 the group received the “Choc de l’Année” of the leading French magazine “Le Monde de la Musique” for their first album on Virgin Classics: “Soledad”. “Like a dazzling universe, hammered by ivory, with Argentina in mind, the twelve tracks of this tango album are truly fascinating and breathtaking, in a repertoire that goes from Astor Piazzolla to Richard Galliano, Daniel Capelletti, Michel Lysight and Igor Stravinsky. To make a success of this ‘coup de maître’, virtuosos were needed. These virtuosos are Soledad.” (Le Monde de la Musique, George Gad, 12/2002)
In 2003 the album “Del Diablo” (Virgin Classics) received great acclaim in the national and international press. It definitely set the Soledad on the international scene and was followed by a series of concerts and tours throughout Europe, Canada and Japan.
Soledad’s fourth album ‘Passage’ - dedicated to the music of composer Frédéric Devreese (known among others from his many filmscores for movies by André Delvaux, Yves Hanchard) and with the collaboration of great jazz guitarist Philip Catherine – was released in 2006 on EMI/Virgin Classics. The CD as well as the concerts again received rave reviews in the press and standing ovations from the public.
Soledad has been invited to perform at international festivals and reputed venues like like The Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, The Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the ‘Grand auditorium du Palais des Festival’ in Cannes (Victoires de la Musique 2002), the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Festival ‘La Roque d’Anthéron’ in France, ‘Euromeet jazz’ and ‘Veneto Jazz’ festivals in Italy, ‘Al Bustan Festival’ in Lebanon, ‘Miami Festival’ in Florida, the ‘Argerich festival’ of Taipei (Taiwan), ‘Lugano Festival’ (Switserland), ‘Beppu’ (Japan), Montreal Jazz Festival, Domaine Forget festival, La Baie des Chaleurs festival (Canada), tours of France, Italy and Japan.
Their live album ‘Soledad - In Concert’ released worldwide (Enja, 2010), was recorded during two magical concerts. For the first time it included some original compositions by the members of Soledad, as well as works by Egberto Gismonti, Stavinsky and Astor Piazzolla for which Soledad has proved to be unique.
Strengthened by the enthusiasm of the public Soledad decided going further in that direction, and the repertoire of the new album Soledad plays Soledad will mostly consist of compositions by the members of the group as well as a collaboration with the great singer Maurane for a beautiful version of « Por Toda a Minha Vida » by Tom Jobim.
“Soledad - In Concert” - ENJA Records (2010) “Passage” – EMI-Virgin Classics (2006) “Del Diablo” – EMI-Virgin Classics (2004) “Soledad” – EMI-Virgin Classics (2002) “Soledad plays Piazzolla” – Chamber (1998)
The musicians :
Manu Comté. Born in 1973 he starts his musical training at 7 years old with the accordion of his father. He studies at the Royal Academy of Mons (Belgium) where he obtains the Diploma for accordion and 1st prize for chamber music, both with the highest distinctions, as well as the first prize (with congratulations of the jury) of the ‘Ville de Paris’ in the class of Frédéric Deschamps at the « Conservatoire Lili and Nadia Boulanger » in Paris. He also takes masterclasses with Jacques Mornet and Richard Galliano, and studied the bandonion with Alfredo Marcucci. Manu Comté is Prize winner of several contests in Belgium (contest of the communal credit, young soloists of the RTBF) and abroad (contest young soloists of Europe, world Trophées of the accordion in Germany and Italy). In 1995 he founded the ensemble « Soledad » with musicians who shared his passion for the work of Astor Piazzolla. Manu Comté also takes part in many concerts and festivals as a chamber musician and soloist throughout the world (France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Scotland, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Brésil, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, Lebanon), in eclectic repertories of the tango nuevo to the contemporary music, jazz and the French ‘chanson’. - “Accordionist and bandoneon player Manu Comté masterfully posseses swing and folly to the highest degree, necessary to perform music that refines the senses and moves the heart ’ (Le Monde de la Musique)
Alexander Gurning (piano), of Polish nationality, was born in Belgium in 1973 of Indonesian and Polish parents. His musical studies have been marked by French and Russian influences. He began his piano studies at an early age and received the Premier Prix at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels where later he became assistant of Evgeny Moguilevsky for 3 years. He also received guidance from Gyorgy Sebök and Lev Naumov and was taught by Victor Merzhanov at the Tchaïkovsky Conservatoire of Moscow Alexander Gurning has since performed at festivals in Beijing, Sapporo, Schleswig-Holstein, Obidos, Lugano, La Roque d’Antheron, Saratoga, Tanglewood, Verbier. His discography includes chamber music, with the ensemble Soledad (Virgin Classics), with Renaud Capuçon (EMI) and solo repertoire. In 2011 he recorded the Goldberg Variations of J.S. Bach for Avanti Classics. His recording of Stravinsky and Debussy pieces, released by EMI in ‘Martha Argerich presents’ series, received the ‘Choc du Monde de la Musique’. He also performed with orchestras such as the “Orchestre National de Belgique”, “Vlaams Radio Orkest”, “L’Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana”, “Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France”, “Boston Symphony Orchestra”, “Philadelphia Orchestra”, with Alexander Rabinovitch, Charles Dutoit, and Myung-Wun Chung. He is founding member of Soledad. - “Alexander Gurning has a soul of a poet” (Le Monde de la Musique) - “Alexander Gurning is stimulating and deeply original” (Le Figaro) - “A magician of the piano” (Piano Magazine)
Jean-Frédéric Molard (1975) began the violin under the direction of his father at the Academy of Turns then from 1990 to 1994 at the Higher Academy of Paris (C.N.R.). In 1994, he enters the Royal Academy of Music of Brussels in the class of Endre Kleve. He obtains the first prize of violin and the following year of chamber music. In 1999 he finishes his musical studies with the C.R.M.B obtaining the higher diplomas of chamber music and violin with great distinction in the classes of Serge Bément and Andre Kleve. Jean-Frederic Molard is member of the Chamber orchestra of Wallonia and regularly performs with the Liège Philharmonic Orchestra. Jean-Frederic Molard is prize winner of the foundation Mathilde Horlait-Dapsen. He joined the group “Soledad” in 2003.
Patrick De Schuyter (guitar). When in his teens he starts to play the guitar and learns the fingerpicking style after having met guitarist Stefan Grossman, who later invites him for tours in England. In 1983 he starts his classical guitar studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and obtains first prize of chamber music in 1988, as well as a master degree in guitar in 1990 in the class Nicolas Alfonso. He is laureate of the Yehudi Ménuhin Foundation, and played with several ensembles, as well as soloist with different orchestras. Guitarist with singer Julos Beaucarne since 1993 he toured in France, Switserland, Canada and also with the, blues group Patolie’s. He is member of Soledad since 2002.
Sam Gerstmans (double bass) was born in Liège in 1978, in a family of musicians. His father was a classical violinist. He started the violin at the age of 6 and at the age of 8 he switches to the trumpet. When he turned 17 he started to play the bass, and studied at the Jazz Studio in Antwerp and the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels. His exceptional talent rapidly made him a very much in demand musican both in jazz and classical repertoire. The youngest member of Soledad, he adds great strengh to the rhythm section as well as being a very inspired soloist.
Michel SEBA (percussion) attended percussion lessons at the Brussels Conservatory. Today he is one of the best percussion players around and performed in numerous concerts in Belgium and abroad and recorded with a wide variety of musicians. He plays with the bandSlang and played with the French organ player Eddy Louiss and toured with the new tentet of drummer Félix Simtaine. Since beginning 2011 he is member of the group Soledad.
The Brussels-based quintet Soledad are back with a new album that mixes classic tango nuevo from Astor Piazzolla - including the frenzied Concierto para Quinteto - with new works specially written for the group by Daniel Capelletti and Frédéric Devreese. Soledad's brilliant musicianship and fantastic energy push boundaries aside in a whirlwind of elegance, passion and inventiveness. This is how Soledad goes at its music, mixing frenzy and beauty, power and passion, as it navigates the whirling, wild shadows of contemporary tango.” (Le Vif/L'express, 12/2005)
The Soledad quintet stems from Belgium and combines five young classically trained musicians with a love for Astor Piazzolla's tango nuevo. The combination of Tango and modern music is stunning and allows Soledad to really show off their chops. Here is music that grips you by the shorthairs and doesn't let go. A deep emotion arises and feels like a glowing ball inside your solar plexus. Listening to the tension now so obviously present makes you breathe more deeply and whisks you into another state of mind. Musical enlightenment? Exactly. Del Diablo is a CD Soledad can be proud of. (SixMoons.com – 4/2004) « Univers pathétique et enivrant, martelé d’ivoire, aux arrière-pensées d’Argentine, les douze titres de cet album de tango constituent une course à bout de souffle qui fascine, dans un répertoire qui va d’Astor Piazzolla à Richard Galliano, en passant par Daniel Capelletti, Michel Lysight et Igor Stravinsky. Pour réussir ce coup de maître, il fallait des virtuoses. Les virtuoses, c’est le groupe Soledad…. » (Le Monde de la Musique, Georges Gad, 12/2002)
Die fünf Musiker von Soledad zeigen auf ihrer CD Del Diablo nicht nur, dass sie virtuose Instrumentalisten sind. Viel wichtiger ist die große Leidenschaft und Spielfreude. Das beeindruckende Können von Soledad hat sich inzwischen auch herumgesprochen. So war das Quintett inzwischen zu mehreren Auftritten in Italien, Spanien, Frankreich, im Libanon und auch in Japan. (NDRinfo.de)
- Martha Argerich: Listening to the group Soledad, I have been struck by their rare intensity. Combining intelligence, know-how and sex-appeal, they have transported me into the mysterious, tragic world of tango.”
Richard Galliano: Rhythm, fury, emotion, sonority: Soledad. At last a group of marvellous musicians who play the music of Astor Piazzolla as it should be played… with passion. Magnificent!”