‘ I firmly believe that the accordion, through its popular character, can act as an opening to classical music and a catalyst for a revival of contemporary creation’.
Invented by an Austrian, made in Italy, modified in Russia and widely played in Latin America, as well as being a symbol of the Roaring Twenties in France, the accordion travels well proving its adaptability. It does not end there as Félicien Brut is striving to harmonise its marginal status in the classical music arena and its overriding popular character.
Brahms, Bartók and Dvořák frequently drew from traditional sources of music: in this vein, the thirty-year old accordionist has set off on a new musical tangent with his instrument in order to assert its image and broaden its repertoire.
‘The popularity of this instrument provides an opening that must be embraced.’
FÉLICIEN BRUT, AN UNCONVENTIONAL CAREER PATH
Originally from Auvergne, Félicien Brut has shaken up the reputation of the accordion. He grew up in the middle of the Massif du Sancy and was very young when he discovered the accordion and the popular music that has long characterised it: musette or accordion music. After a solid education at the CNIMA Jacques Mornet, he entertained at many balls for numerous years. In 2009 he continued studying at the Pôle Supérieur de Bordeaux-Aquitaine because in the meantime he had also fallen in love with classical music.
Early on he spotted the divide between musicians playing accordion music at balls on the one hand and classical accordionists and teachers at the conservatoire on the other. Specialised in the classical field, and with several international prizes to his name, he founded the Trio Astoria, an ensemble devoted to Nuevo Tango music by Astor Piazzolla, and released his first album Soledad del Escualo in 2016. This was when a crazy idea came to mind: to form his own programme of classical music combined with accordion music repertoire, a style particularly close to his heart
PIVOTAL ENCOUNTERS AND WELCOME INITIATIVES
Created in August 2017, Le Pari des Bretelles was an overnight success. Joined by the Quatuor Hermès and double bass player Edouard Macarez, Félicien Brut performed a series of concerts and recorded his first album with this ensemble that was released in January 2019, during La Folle Journée in Nantes, under the label Mirare.
Félicien continued with his approach creating a collective to achieve bold projects, flanked by renowned soloists: Edouard Macarez (double bass), Renaud Guy-Rousseau (clarinet), Julien Martineau (mandolin), Romain Leleu (trumpet) and Thomas Leleu (tuba).
For Félicien Brut, each project is an opportunity to boost the emergence of contemporary creation, hence his strong working relationship with the composer Thibault Perrine. After premiering his Suite Musette for accordion and string quintet in 2017, his Caprice d’Accordéoniste for accordion and orchestra in 2018, Félicien showcased his latest album, Souvenirs de Bal, a concerto for accordion and orchestra, in April 2019 with the Orchestre de Cannes and its musical director Benjamin Lévy.
From popular music to erudite music, improvisation to written works, original pieces to the most unexpected transcriptions, Félicien Brut continually upholds the diverse and multi-faceted nature of the accordion. He is undeniably carving a name for himself as representative of his instrument in the new generation of classical musicians.
Parallel to his artistic career, Félicien is a teacher engaged in introducing his instrument to younger generations. He gained a state-registered diploma from the Pôle Supérieur de Bordeaux – Aquitaine, with a degree in Musicology, he taught the accordion for many years at the CRC de Libourne then the CRD de Châteauroux and continues to participate in master classes.