In all its aspects, Chantal Mathieu’s trajectory
displays a very demanding passion for music: all for music, all through music,
as one might say.
Since the beginning of her training, she did not
content herself with leading an intense and brilliant harpist career; we shall
see that she also devoted her time and energy to the conception of numerous
solo and chamber music arrangements, to publications, to music research and to
the recording of CD’s.
Of French origin and Swiss by
marriage, Chantal Mathieu was born in Lille. She is the mother of two
Her music studies started very early, since already at
the age of 5 she was studying solfeggio and music theory at the Lille
Conservatory! One year later she
discovered the harp and the piano. From
then on, she never ceased learning and perfecting herself in the art of the
harp, a period marked by numerous awards:
she was semi-finalist at the 3rd International Harp Competition in
Israel, at the age of 13; the following year, she obtained a 1. Prize of harp
at the Paris Conservatoire National
Supérieur de Musique (CNSM); in 1970, she won the 1st prize at the famous
International Harp Contest in Israel, and once again 6 years later, the 1st
prize at the Paris International Harp Competition of the „Guilde des Solistes“ with a special “Claude Debussy” prize. Throughout the years, Chantal Mathieu has
continued collecting prizes and distinctions while carrying out her
professional career started as Principal Harp in the “Concerts Colonne” in Paris at 15! Thereafter she deployed her
activity successively in Limoges, again Paris, Amiens and then for 3 years in
In the Hanse town, second city in Germany, she is
Principal Harp in the Symphonic Orchestra of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk; at the same time, she teaches harp at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst,
and at the Musikschule.
1977 marks her establishment in French speaking
Switzerland. At the Lausanne Conservatory she teaches harp, chamber music,
contemporary music, and even organizes jazz seminars, as she is opened to all
musical genres, as well as to the wealth of world music.
She also gives Masterclasses all over the world, from
Korea, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Spain,
France, Italy, Russia, theUnited States, Latin America...
But what does she play? and with which conductors? Her
eclectic tastes and her vast talent often take her towards creations of
contemporary works. One can mention, among many others, the creation in Paris,
followed by Switzerland, Italy and Germany, of the Septet „Chantal“ by Franco Donatoni; the World premiere of the complete „Jeux Poétiques en 6 mouvements„ by Jean
Françaix; the World premiere performance of works by composers as diverse as
Julien-François Zbinden, Jean-Michel Damase, Eric Gaudibert, Bernard Andres,
Michel Zbar, Thomas Lauck, Ami Maayani, Michael Jarrell…
But as one knows, the life of a musician is made of
travels and tours, and so Chantal Mathieu has moved a lot and played worldwide.
One finds her as a soloist with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra under
the baton of Armin Jordan in the United States; with major orchestras like
the Berlin Philharmonic or the Orchestre
de la Suisse Romande; accompanied
by well-known conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Emmanuel Krivine, Gerd
Albrecht, Horst Stein, Heinz Holliger, Jesus Lopez Cobos …
During this time, she has recorded a rich collection
of CD’s, already 20!
Her passion for the harp has led her to preside at the
8th World Harp Congress in Geneva in 2002.
Today, Chantal Mathieu pursues her career as
interpreter and professor in the four corners of the world, plus a research
work and writing on the beautiful art of Euterpe and on Medicine of Arts- as
one has said, all for music, or almost…
Department of Music,Taipei National University of The Arts