Who would have imagined that in the space of a few years an accordionist would become one of the most prolific, inventive and recognized French classical musicians of his generation? Yet this is the story of Félicien Brut, who today travels the world to make his accordion heard, both as a soloist with major orchestras and as a central element of many chamber music ensembles.
From musette to classical music
Born in Auvergne in 1986, Félicien discovered the accordion and the world of musette dances at a very young age. When he chose to start learning music at the age of six, it was primarily to play this popular repertoire intrinsically linked to his instrument.
In 1997, he joined the CNIMA (Centre National et International de Musique et d’Accordéon), a school in which he benefited from the teaching of numerous professors including Jacques Mornet, Nathalie Boucheix, Domi Emorine, Roman Jbanov, and Claude Sauvage. In 2007, Félicien won three of the most important international accordion competitions: the Castelfidardo and Klingenthal competitions as well as the World Accordion Trophy. He then chose to continue his training with Maryse Roux at the Pôle Supérieur de Bordeaux-Aquitaine.
During all these years, in contact with his teachers and other musicians, Félicien discovered many repertoires and, in particular, classical music and chamber music which became, over time, a real passion…
A decisive meeting and a founding bet
In 2009, Félicien starts teaching accordion in conservatories. He first occupied a position in Libourne before joining the Conservatoire Départemental de Châteauroux in 2013 but, three years later, an event turned his career upside down… He personally met the one he had admired the most for years, the reference figure of his instrument: Richard Galliano. It was in 2016 when Galliano convinced Félicien to imagine a project mixing the two repertoires he loves so much, musette and classical music.
In 2017, Félicien gives life to the Pari des Bretelles, surrounded by the Quatuor Hermès and the double bass player Edouard Macarez. With this sextet, he tells in music the history and the countless facets of his instrument. The success of the project is immediate, the career of Félicien takes a decisive turn.
From chamber music to orchestra
The concerts follow one another and Félicien decides to abandon his teaching position. He settled in Paris and multiplied his collaborations with some of the most brilliant musicians of his generation such as guitarist Thibaut Garcia, trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary, cellists Anne Gastinel and Christian-Pierre La Marca, pianist Thomas Enhco, violinist Jordan Victoria… Félicien released two albums with the Quatuor Hermès and Edouard Macarez, Le Pari des Bretelles in 2019 and NEUF in 2020, both of which were released on the Mirare label.
On record as on stage, Félicien surprises and seduces. He is the guest of renowned festivals including La Folle Journée de Nantes, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Festival Radio France Montpellier Occitanie, the Easter Festival of Aix-en-Provence, the Festival Musiq’3 of Brussels, Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims, Un Violon sur le Sable…
In 2018, Félicien decided to go further and go beyond the world of chamber music to defend his instrument as a soloist in front of the orchestra. He is thus heard alongside the Bordeaux-Aquitaine National Orchestra, Garde Républicaine Symphony Orchestra, the Cannes National Orchestra, the Tours Symphony Orchestra… To succeed in this tour de force, he must generate a new repertoire, new music. He can then count on talented composers of today who appropriate the accordion and trace a destiny for it.
From repertoire to creation
Félicien Brut’s concerts are always full of twists and turns, surprises and anecdotes, and this characteristic is due above all to the repertoire he plays. He is a musician who refuses stylistic boundaries and this can be heard.
From masterpieces of romantic music to the popular accordion repertoire, from French song standards to works for concert accordion from the Russian or North European schools, Félicien likes to mix eras and styles, from transcriptions to arrangements.
But the accordion is still a very young instrument in the history of classical music, and Félicien will very quickly make each project an opportunity to stimulate the emergence of contemporary creations and to expand the repertoire of his instrument. He federates around him a group of talented composers and arrangers among whom we can mention Fabien Waksman (Victoire de la Musique 2023), Thibault Perrine, Romain Dumas, Domi Emorine, Bruno Fontaine, Karol Beffa, Cyrille Lehn, David Venitucci… In the space of six years, Félicien has commissioned and premiered no less than 17 new works and a multitude of arrangements, whether in chamber music (duets, quintets, sextet) or for accordion and symphony orchestra.
From the airwaves of France Musique to the catalog of Warner Classics/Erato
A true storyteller on stage, with a strong desire to make his instrument better known, Félicien became a producer on France Musique in September 2021. Since then, he has hosted a weekly radio show: “Brut d’accordéon”.
Traveling the most beautiful stages of the world and becoming one of the best ambassadors of the accordion in the four corners of the globe, Félicien signs in 2022 an artist contract with the prestigious label Erato/Warner Classics, a first for an accordionist. He released his first album with this legendary label in October 2022: “J’ai deux amours”. His next album, a duet with the wonderful guitarist Thibaut Garcia, is announced in 2024.
Félicien plays on a Bayan Gadji designed, tuned and maintained by Stéphanie Simon