French cellist the first foreign musician to perform in Shanghai in over three years
French cellist Gautier Capuçon is in Shanghai preparing for two concerts at the Cadillac Shanghai Concert Hall later this week.
The cellist will be the first overseas artist to perform in Shanghai after China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism approved commercial performances from abroad last month.
In an exclusive interview with Shanghai Daily, Capuçon expressed his joy at performing for the Shanghai audience once again.
"I visited Shanghai four or five years ago," Capuçon said. "Shanghai is a beautiful city with great energy and an amazing crowd, with people from all over the world."
Capuçon and his long-time collaborator, pianist and composer Jérôme Ducros, will perform two sold-out concerts on April 20 and 21.
The first concert will feature more classical music, such as Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 3, and Brahms' First Cello Sonata.
Rachmaninoff's Cello Sonata will open the second concert. Jérôme Ducros will arrange pieces for the cello and piano in the second half, which will include classical music, opera tunes, the French Chanson and some music from movies.
"Jérôme is a dear friend and my longest musical collaborator. We've been playing together for 26 years," Capuçon said. "It will be the first time that we are performing together in Shanghai. I am very excited."
"He is only a few years older than me, but we basically grew up together with all those concerts and musical projects.
"We performed most cello-piano repertoire, and have been experimenting with new arrangements for a few years now.
"All of his arrangements for piano and cello, or for orchestra piano and cello, are pieces I've always wanted to perform, despite the fact that they weren't written for cello... It's a luxury to have such trust and admiration in a friendship."
Capuçon, who was born in Chambéry, began playing the cello at the age of five. He studied with Philippe Muller and Annie Cochet-Zakine at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris and later with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna.
He has worked with the world's top orchestras and conductors, as well as Chinese musicians such as pianist Wang Yujia and conductor Yu Long.
"Yujia is a very dear friend. At her young age, she is already a legend, and we have played together for over ten years," he said.
"And of course, Yu Long.
"Actually, I'll be back in September to perform with him in Shanghai and Guangzhou."
Renaud Capuçon, his elder violinist brother, will perform in Shanghai on May 19.
The younger Capuçon said his parents tried to coax him to try the violin when he was about four and a half, but he was more emotionally connected to the cello.
"My cello has always been my way of expressing all my feelings, all the things I feel but cannot express with words.
"Sometimes, after eight hours of practice, I'm very careful to listen to my body. We work with our hands and back, and our hands are strong but also fragile.
"We must learn to listen to our bodies. We should not push if our bodies are tired."
"Sport keeps me in shape," he said. "And jogging helps me mentally."
Date: April 20-21, 7:30pm
Tickets: 180-880 yuan
Venue: Cadillac Shanghai Concert Hall
Address: 523 Yan'an Rd E. 延安东路523号