Anne Gastinel

‘Life Is a Constant Inspiration’

Anne Gastinel and Claire Désert Play Chopin

Anne Gastinel

Anne Gastinel © William Beaucardet

French cellist Anne Gastinel is one of the foremost cellists of her generation. Hailing from southeastern France, she entered Lyon’s conservatoire to study when she was just 11 years old. After Lyon came to Paris, where she studied with, among others, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Tortelier and János Starker.

Anne’s international career began early, having already played across Europe by the age of 18. She has competed in competitions around the world, including the Cheveningen, Prague, and Rostropovich competitions, and in 2006 received the ‘Victoire de la Musique’ award in the Soloist of the Year Category.

The cello Anne plays on, a 1690 Testore, was given to her by the Fonds Instrumental Français Association, and can be heard on the most recent of her many solo albums, Chopin, featuring pianist Claire Désert. Past albums have included works by Schumann, Bach, Offenbach, Beethoven, and Piazzolla, in collaboration with artists including David Grimal, Philippe Cassard, and Xavier Phillips.

She has performed worldwide with orchestras and conductors including the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the HR-Sinfonieorchester, Semyon Bychkov, and Emmanuel Krivine. She currently lives in Lyon, where she is now a professor at the conservatoire where her musical journey began.

Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations , Op. 33

Philippe Cassard, David Grimal and Anne Gastinel performing at Festival Berlioz 2022

Philippe Cassard, David Grimal and Anne Gastinel performing at
Festival Berlioz 2022 © Bruno Moussier/AIDA

What inspired you to take up your instrument?

I was born into a family of musicians. My parents both played piano and all my brothers and sisters are musicians. My sister Aimee is a cellist, and I fell in love with this instrument.

What inspired you to become a professional?

It was obvious to me, because of my family. From the very beginning, from the age of four, I wanted to be a professional cellist. I think it is luck when it is so simple in the mind!

Who inspires you now?

I love to play with other musicians. They always inspire me, because I like to share music with them. They are my best inspiration!

And of course, a lot of great cellists! There are many but my “god” is Yo-Yo Ma!

Which composer[s] do you feel the most comfortable with?

I love to play romantic music! My favourite concerto is the Schumann. I can express everything in this piece. But I’m in love with Schubert too, and Bach and Beethoven and many others.

Anne Gastinel performance with Ariane Matiakh and Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne

Anne Gastinel performance with Ariane Matiakh and Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne
© Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne

Is there any repertoire you haven’t performed yet that you would like to in the future?

Not really a ‘piece’, but one day I would like to try improvisation…

Is there a particular composer / piece that you’ve really felt your relationship with change over time (for better or worse)?

I think of Beethoven’s Sonatas. I began to study them very early and I didn’t enjoy it so much. I think I was too young! Because now I’m just crazy about them! This music is just fantastic and so complex.

Do you find inspiration from things other than music?

I like very simple things! To read, to be with my friends, to go to walk near the sea, to eat, to see paintings. I think life is a constant inspiration.

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