Corinne Contardo, Viola

“I look back very fondly to those beautiful years l spend with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

I was very young when l joined, only 19, the only French musician, without any real musical culture or control, but Claudio Abbado and the members of the orchestra accepted me despite my shortcomings, and what l learned there, with everyone, has no price. Working with Vegh, Schneider, Berglund, Solti, Zerkin, Rostropovich, and of course Harnoncourt (and many more, the list is so long…) was a huge privilege I will never forget.

I’m deeply convinced that this orchestra was a way for Claudio to give music a new life, always asking for more expressivity from our bodies and souls, without ever using the word “technique”! Actually none of them ever used that word or approach to music with us. It was for us as individuals to get to that level. It is now our duty to pass on such a beautiful experience and this quest for excellence.

I want also to say how incredibly grateful I am to Peter Readman and the exceptional team he built to make that project happen. Nothing would have been possible without him.”


Corinne Contardo was born in Lyon in 1966.

As a first generation of violas in France, she quickly distinguished herself by her skills playing her first solo concerts at the age of 13.

During her studies at the Conservatories of Lyon and Paris, she first joined the Orchestra of the Lyon Opera under the direction of Gardiner, and later on, at age 19 the Orchestra of Chambre d’Europe, with which she played for many years before becoming a soloist viola of the National Orchestra of Lyon. She also studied with Yuri Bachmet and Karen Tuttle.

Her career leads her to work with great artists such as Sandor Vegh, Sir Georg Solti, Sacha Schneider, Lorin Maazel, Nokolaus Harnoncourt, Rostropovich and Claudio Abbado, with whom she will play for more than thirty years. At the same time, Corinne Contardo participates in numerous chamber music festivals, with musicians such as Gidon Kremer, Raphaël Oleg, Alexander Rabinowitz, Leonidas Kavakos and many others, while performing as a soloist in the main works of the repertoire.

Passionate about pedagogy, at age twenty-three became assistant at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Lyon and afterward teacher at the Musikhochschule de Detmold and at the Haute École de Musique de Sion, collaborating with Diemut Poppen and carrying out numerous master classes in Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France.

With her specific approach to pedagogy, in both the psychological and physical understanding of instrumental practice, she succeeded by preparing her students to become professors, soloists, orchestral musicians or chamber musicians of the greatest houses.

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