Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tedi Papavrami

Tedi Papavrami is an Albanian violinist, teacher, and actor born (in Tirana, Albania) on May 13, 1971.  Although it can most assuredly be said that he possesses a quite fantastic technique and formidable artistic insight (second to none, in my opinion), he is much better known in Europe than in the U.S. and therefore has a lower global profile than he might otherwise.  Besides being a musician and actor, he is also a writer.  In addition, he has transcribed various works written for other instruments for his use as violin pieces.  Among them are several Scarlatti piano sonatas.  Nowadays, that activity is rare among violinists, though it was commonplace in the old days – say, prior to 1945.  Papavrami first studied with his father – Robert Papavrami, a violinist and violin teacher – from age 5.  At age 7, he enrolled at the Jordan Misja School of Art in Tirana.  He made his orchestral debut at age 8, playing Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs (Zigeunerweisen.)  At age 11, he played Paganini’s first concerto with the same orchestra – the Tirana Philharmonic.  Soon thereafter, he was offered a scholarship by the French government to study at the Paris Conservatory.  He was 12 years old.  His teacher there – among others - was Pierre Amoyal.  Papavrami graduated from the Paris Conservatory at age 15.  He studied further with Zino Francescatti and Victoria Mullova.  According to one source, he also received a degree – I don’t know in what field of study – from the Lausanne Conservatory in 1987.  By 1986, he had already established his base, so to speak, in Paris, France.  Here is a YouTube video of his performance of Paganini’s second concerto.  I’ve already heard nearly all of the recordings of this concerto that are out there and this one is the best among them.  Papavrami has concertized around the world since completing his formal music studies but spends scant time in the U.S.  He is also one of a handful of violinists who have played recitals composed entirely of the 24 Paganini Caprices.  In 2003, he was engaged to play a principal role in the French film, Dangerous Liaisons, with Catherine Deneuve and the notorious Natasha Kinski.  In 2008, he was appointed violin professor at the Geneva Conservatory in Switzerland and has been living in Geneva ever since.  In 2002, Papavrami was named official French translator by the publisher of the works of his countryman, Ismail Kadare.  His recordings on the Naxos and Aeon labels have been praised by every music critic.  His first major recording (for Naxos) was released in 1997.  It features both Prokofiev concertos.  Papavrami’s transcriptions - for solo violin - of the Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas have been published but I know not by whom.  Papavrami is also the violinist of the Schumann Piano Quartet - with violist Christoph Schiller, pianist Christian Favre, and cellist Francois Guye.  Their magnificent recording of the piano quartets of Ernest Chausson and Gabriel Faure can easily be found on the internet.  Papavrami's violin is one constructed especially for him by French violin maker (luthier) Christian Bayon.  

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