Sébastien Surel (violin), Paul Radais (viola) and Aurélien Sabouret (cello) have frequently played together, from their earliest days at conservatory and at regular intervals in their musical careers. At each encounter, they take the same pleasure in making music together; their natural affinity gives rise to a mutual exchange on both a human and an artistic level. The desire to develop this special relationship led them to form a string trio, joining a long and celebrated French tradition.
Intrinsically symbolic, with its triangle of instruments, a string trio is the most balanced of musical groups, preferring the demanding uniqueness of each part
to the ideality of a string quartet, the fluidity of cohesion to the dialectic of a piano trio. A string trio cultivates its difference with a repertoire that crosses periods and styles : from Mozart and Beethoven to Schoenberg, Webern, Martinů, Schnittke and Penderecki, not to mention French composers such as Roussel, Cras and Francaix.
Thus the recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations represents, for Sébastien Surel, Paul Radais and Aurelien Sabouret, both a culmination in the maturity of the group and a further step in the long and continuing evolution of the string trio.
This curious and insatiable artist, a mercurial and passionately committed musician, Sébastien Surel strives to create links between music and cultures, always eager to provoke encounters.
Following his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris where he was taught by Sylvie Gazeau and Christian Ivaldi and obtained first prize in violin and in chamber music, he received guidance from Shlomo Mintz, Pavel Vernikov, Gyorgy Sebok and the Ysaye Quartet while continuing to study harmony, orchestration and composition.
He played with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France from 2000 to 2003 before dedicating himself fully to his career as a concert artist and chamber music performer.
In 2004, he founded the Trio Talweg. The creation of this group marked an important turning point in his musical development. Supported by Martha Argerich, they have been invited to play in festivals across Europe and Asia. Their discography has been greeted enthusiastically by the public and critics alike, and includes trios composed by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich and the complete trios of Brahms. Sebastien Surel’s career has encompassed a multitude of projects, from playing the vast chamber music repertoire alongside Roland Pidoux, Henri Demarquette, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Michel Moragues or the musicians in the Trio Wanderer in halls around the world, to his work as a soloist, to his artistic direction of the musical programme of the ensemble La Chambre d’Amis with Paul Radais, not to mention a diverse range of other musical ventures that take him beyond the frontiers of ‘classical’ music. These latter have enriched his discography with many recordings alongside musicians such as Juanjo Mosalini, Jean- Philippe Viret and Richard Galliano – artists with whom he has given more than 500 concerts around the world.
He was also behind the creation of the Surel, Segal & Gubitsch trio, whose diverse repertoire of original compositions and arrangements is based on the conventions of chamber music but brings to these the singular knowledge and influences of the three musicians.
Sébastien Surel equally attaches great importance to teaching violin and chamber music. He has held a music teaching certificate for the violin since 2011. He plays a violin made by Giuseppe Guadagnini in 1788.
Born in 1975, Paul Radais is ardently devoted to chamber music. His musical career began in Nimes, where he studied violin with Jacques Nottelet. He then went on to have decisive encounters with Philippe Coutelen, Flora Elphege at the Conservatoire de Grenoble (where he obtained the gold medal) and then Christophe Poiget at the Conservatoire de Boulogne-Billancourt (where he unanimously obtained first prize).
He discovered the viola thanks to Marie-Christine Witterkoer, and so found his true calling. The next year, he studied this instrument with Gerard Caussé at the Conservatoire de Paris. Invited several times to play with Vienna’s Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under the direction of Franz Welser-Most, Claudio Abbado or Seiji Ozawa, he fell under the spell of symphony music.
In his second year at the Conservatoire de Paris, Paul Radais joined the National Orchestra of France, one year before obtaining his diploma with honours. He then went on to perfect his talents with the Ysaye Quartet (he also created the Impresa quartet, first-prize winner in the Fnapec competition) and the Darius quartet as part of ProQuartet (the European Centre for Chamber Music). He has played numerous chamber music concerts in different groups and at different festivals.
Keen to develop a strong connection with the public, he has participated in original projects such as the Concerts de palier in Nanterre (concerts held in public housing) and has been involved in several educational outreach programmes with Radio France. In this spirit, he and Sébastien Surel, who has long been an associate, founded the ensemble La Chambre d’Amis. They organise more than 30 musical events over the course of seven musical seasons in Paris.
Paul Radais also has a degree in history and philosophy from the University of Paris-Nanterre.
Aurelien Sabouret has been Principal Cello in the Orchestra of the National Opera of Paris since 2008. Born into a family of musicians, he was taught by Philippe Bary at a municipal conservatory in Paris before continuing his studies under the instruction of Jean-Marie Gamard at the national Conservatoire de Paris, where he obtained his diploma in 1999.
He then went on to study under Andres Diaz at Boston University in the United States, rounding out his musical training at the music festivals of Tanglewood and Kneisel Hall, where he received instruction from great chamber musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Roman Totenberg and the Juilliard String Quartet, among others.
In 1999, Aurelien Sabouret won first prize in the Heida Hermann International String Competition. In 2001, he joined the Orchestra of Paris, where he stayed for seven years. In parallel, he gave performances as a concert musician. He has played in chamber music groups including the Vogler Quartet, the Via Nova Quartet and Les Violoncelles Français ensemble. He has also appeared as a soloist at the Bastille Opera in Paris under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. Recently he was invited to Japan by the Gunma Symphony Orchestra.
Aurélien Sabouret has recorded works by Bach, Schubert, Glinka and Richard Strauss for the Swiss label VDE-Gallo. In 2013, he made his first sonata recording with the Bion label, playing French pieces. He plays a cello made by Paul Bailly in Paris in 1903.