The French contralto Nathalie Stutzmann, who became a conductor under Seiji Ozawa’s mentorship, has a label deal. Warner has also signed a French harpsichordist. You don’t speak French? Find another label.
July 2014 – Warner Classics & Erato are honoured to announce the signing of an exclusive recording contract with one of the most versatile musicians of our time, Nathalie Stutzmann, and with the young French harpsichord sensation Jean Rondeau, who is currently recording his debut album dedicated to Bach.
The revered French contralto and conductor brings with her the dynamic chamber orchestra she founded in 2009, Orfeo 55. Nathalie already has an extensive discography of more than 40 recordings to her name, having performed as soloist under the batons of Herbert von Karajan, Sir Colin Davis, John Eliot Gardiner and Marc Minkowski among others. These luminaries must have left a lasting impression on the contralto, who has since developed a parallel career as a fine maestra in her own right under the guidance of her two mentors, Sir Simon Rattle and Seiji Ozawa.
Her next venture with Erato marks a homecoming – she had signed her first contract as a singer with the label in the early 1980s – but also a new chapter now that Nathalie’s rich vocal gifts have matured and she has mastered the rare skill of singing and conducting simultaneously. It is a combined art she will continue to explore on her first recording for Erato with Orfeo 55,Heroes from the Shadows, slated for release in October 2014. The new album shines light on the secondary roles in Handel operas; the lesser characters who are in fact often given the plum arias, and features countertenor superstar Philippe Jarousskyin a duet with Nathalie. Heroes from the Shadows will be launched with a concert at the Wigmore Hall on 17th October.
In Addition, Erato will reissue Nathalie’s three classic Schubert lieder cycles – originally recorded with Inger Södergren for the Calliope label – in conjunction with her upcoming tour of the same repertoire. “I have known Nathalie Stutzmann from her earliest performances,” recalls Warner Classics & Erato President Alain Lanceron. “Her debut on disc on EMI was the complete opera Guercoeur under the direction of Michel Plasson in 1986. I followed with great interest the rise and evolution of her magnificent career. I am very proud to welcome her to Erato along with Orfeo 55. She is not only an exceptional contralto, but also a truly unique musician.”
Jean Rondeau is one of the most promising and innovative artists of his generation. His debut recording, dedicated to the music of JS Bach, is slated for release in February 2015 on the Erato label. At just 21, Jean Rondeau won the First Prize at the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition, where critics praised “a virtuosity that allows him to dash off lightning appogiaturas, phrasing that nourishes and refreshes the drama, lively, ardent, captivating and always dynamically charged” (La Libre). He is also a recipient of the European Union Baroque Orchestra Development Trust, awarded to Europe’s brightest young performers. At the Paris Conservatoire he received a broad education across various disciplines: harpsichord, of course (with Olivier Baumont, Blandine Rannou and Kenneth Weiss as mentors), but also piano, jazz and improvisation, composition, orchestral and choral conducting. Rondeau continued his training at London’s Guildhall School of Music and in several masterclasses with Christophe Rousset, among others.