Meet the Artist…… Rozenn le Trionnaire


Who or what inspired you to take up the clarinet, and make it your career?

My parents, who are not musicians, pushed me to learn music thinking this was something I could enjoy and be good at. I took the clarinet as it was the only instrument available at my music school and luckily I loved it when I started playing in an orchestra after six months.

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing/composing?

I think my teacher at Paris Conservatoire (CRR) was the greatest influence as I entered his class as a passionate amateur and he taught me to have professional expectations.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Performing as a soloist with orchestras has always been a big challenge – not for the work I had to do on the clarinet but due to the psychological preparation required.

Which performances/compositions/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of having recorded Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Mahler 4 for chamber ensemble with Leporello Quartet under the baton of Trevor Pinnock. I haven’t heard the result yet: it will be released in May 2013 (Linn Records).

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

I like to play in unusual places (pubs, warehouses etc). I also enjoy very much Salle Pleyel in Paris and KKL in Lucerne where I have performed with several different orchestras.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I discovered the Finzi Concerto when I came to England. I think it is one of the best clarinet concertos ever written and I love both playing it and listening to it.

The Quatuor pour la fin du Temps by Messiaen is one of my favourite pieces of chamber music to perform. The intense and physically demanding fast and very slow movements one after the other drive me into a different state.

As an orchestral player I love to play Strauss, Debussy, Ravel and really enjoy playing Harvey, Manoury, Ives, Eotvos, Jarrell and Riley.

I’m also a contemporary music nerd and performing disturbing music is something I really like! I often go to concerts, but I have to be honest: when I’m home I listen to pop, indie, world music and French songs.

Who are your favourite musicians?

I have great respect for clarinettist Andrew Marriner who is one of the best teachers I ever met as well as being an amazing musician.

Jacques DiDonato, who was initially a drummer, and plays contemporary music like no one else.

Alain Billard for his craziness on contrabass clarinet.

Conductors: Semyon Bychkov, Peter Eotvos, Susanna Malkki.

And then Mayra Andrade, Elis Regina, Amy Winehouse, Emiliana Torrini, Feist, Buena Vista Social Club, Kings of convenience, Alt-J, Race Horses, French singers Camille and Claire Diterzi……….should I go on?

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Playing in New Delhi and being congratulated at the end by Ravi Shankar was quite something.

Pierre Boulez conducting during a general rehearsal at KKL Lucerne when he decided he was not going to do the concert and gave the baton to someone else.

Those I remember the most are not necessarily the prestigious ones. I remember better those performances that were unusual, special or amusing in some way. I have a long, long list of those.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I’m not sure yet. I once heard “be your own best teacher.” I’m still working on that but I think it’s a good one.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am preparing an opera by Karol Beffa called Equinoxe, premiered in Mexico in March. I am also working on the next concert with Ensemble Matisse, at The Forge on the 21st of April, and will feature pieces by Steve Reich, Huw Watkins, Alfred Schnittke and Khachaturian.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Living between Paris and London, the way I do now.

What do you enjoy doing most?

I love travelling, especially when it is to give concerts. But professionally speaking I am happiest so long as there is a balance between my creative ensemble projects, orchestral work and teaching.

Ensemble Matisse perform at The Forge, Camden, London on Sunday 21 April in a programme of works by Reich, Schnittke, Watkins and Khachaturian. Further information and tickets here

Ensemble Matisse:

Ensemble Matisse on YouTube

Recording of Rozenn’s duo with accordion, playing Piazzolla:

A graduate of the Conservatoire de Paris (CRR), Paris Boulogne-Billancourt (PSPBB) higher arts education centre, the Sorbonne, and the Royal Academy of London, Rozenn le Trionnaire is a keen exponent of contemporary music whose career is gaining recognition on both sides of the Channel. Previously associate principal clarinet in Ostinato Orchestra, she is now regularly invited to play with orchestras such as Donna Musica, Prométhée, the Star Pop Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, which she joined in 2012. Rozenn has also worked with various acclaimed conductors including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eotvos, Semyon Bychkov, Jac Van Steen, Susanna Malkki, Pablo Heras-Casado and Clement Power.

Rozenn has a strong interest in 20th-century repertoire, and has featured as a soloist in performances conducted by Heinz Holliger and Kaspar Zehnder, as well as a rendition of Maratka’s Concerto for clarinet with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, in the presence of the composer himself. In 2012 she recorded a chamber version of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Debussy’s ‘Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune’, under the baton of Trevor Pinnock.

In addition to her involvement with orchestras, Rozenn is a devoted chamber musician. In 2010 she co-founded the Ensemble Matisse and the Duo Kadañs, which went on to win the Woodbrass prize at the FNAPEC European competition. She has since been invited to play at a large number of festivals including London’s Kings Place Festival, ‘La Folle Journée’ in Nantes, and Musique en Velay, where she performed the French première of Eliott Carter’s clarinet quintet with strings. Other venues include the prestigious Salle Pleyel, Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and KKL in Lucerne.

Rozenn actively seeks new opportunities to expand her contemporary repertoire, and she is particularly passionate about solo clarinet music. In 2011 she was invited to perform Pierre Boulez’s ‘Domaines’ for solo clarinet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Her performance, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, was a success and she was hailed a “prodigiously gifted young clarinettist” (The Times) showing a “dynamic and fascinating” playing (Musicalcriticism). Rozenn was also invited to perform a live broadcast of Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Abîme des Oiseaux’ on France Musique, and Steve Reich’s ‘New York Counterpoint’ at the Louise Blouin Institute. Her continuing commitment to contemporary music has also seen her work with composers such as Philippe Manoury, Michael Jarrell, Isabel Mundry, Elena Firsova, Dan Dediu and Philip Cashian.

Having studied with the likes of Richard Vieille, Mark Van de Wiel and Alain Damiens, Rozenn has recently begun teaching at King’s College London.