Co-founder and co-director of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival and Charlottesville native Raphael Bell enjoys a varied career as a principal cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and festival director. He is currently principal cello of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in Belgium and co-Artistic Director of La Loingtaine in Montigny-sur-Loing, France. As a chamber musician he has performed at Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Salle Gaveau, Berlin Philharmonie, Köln Philharmonie, Luzerner Theater, Tokyo Suntory Hall, and Kyoto Concert Hall, and at festivals including Seattle Chamber Music, Ferrara Musica, Wiener Festwochen, Elba Festival, Ravinia, Verbier and Resonance Festival Belgium.
He was part of the IMS Prussia Cove tour that won the Chamber Music Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London, and has collaborated with musicians such as Steven Isserlis, James Ehnes, Martha Argerich, Pekka Kuusisto, Maxim Vengerov, Ivry Gitlis, and with quartets including Brooklyn Rider, Dante and Orpheus, as well as Oxalys and Japan's Nagaokakyo Ensemble. He gave the world premier of Olli Mustonen's Triptych for three cellos with Steven Isserlis and Steven Doane. Solo performances include concertos with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Luft Ensemble, and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic under Edo de Waart and Brahms Double Concerto with Philippe Herreweghe. This autumn he will perform Giovanni Sollima’s Violoncelles Vibrez! and the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, including a performance at the Amsterdam Cello Biennale. As a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for many years, he played in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra’s celebrated Mahler Symphony Cycle with Claudio Abbado. He has also worked with the Munich Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, among others. Raphael studied at The Juilliard School with Harvey Shapiro, and later with Mario Brunello, Steven Isserlis and Ferenc Rados.
A passion for chamber music has led violinist Aki Saulière to a varied and rich performing life, with frequent appearances in major halls and festivals throughout Europe and Asia. Following her studies in London, Salzburg and Berlin, she returned to France and formed the Capuçon Quartet with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. Over ten years the quartet performed in halls such as Salle Pleyel, Cité de la Musique, Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Reina Sofia, and at the Schubertiades in Schwarzenberg; they collaborated regularly
with Nicolas Angelich, Gérard Caussé, Frank Braley, and Clemens Hagen, and recorded for EMI. As Artistic Director of La Loingtaine in Montigny-sur-Loing, France, Aki Saulière organizes concerts and masterclasses, performs in various formations, and has developed musical friendships which have led over the years to the creation of La Bande de La Loingtaine and the Camerata Fontainebleau. In 2015 she was appointed violin professor at the Royal Conservatoire in Bruxelles. She has also shared a class at the Schola Cantorum in Paris with Jean-Pierre Wallez, travels regularly to Japan for masterclasses, and co-directs the La Loingtaine Summer and Autumn Academies. Recent solo performances include Brahms’ Double Concerto, Mozart’s 1st and 3rd Concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with orchestras in Japan, Norway and Spain. As a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra she performed and developed her musical sensibilities under the batons of Harnoncourt, Abbado, Haitink, and Berglund. Work on period instruments has led to projects with the English Baroque Soloists, L’Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, and Le Concert d’Astrée, under Gardiner, Herreweghe and Haim.