Raphaël Sévère“Destined for the most brilliant future, gifted with astonishing technical mastery and astounding musicality” (ResMusica), French clarinetist Raphaël Sévère is quickly gaining attention. After making his concerto debut at age 11 with the Beijing Opera Orchestra, Mr. Sévère’s budding career took off when he won five international competitions at age 12. When he was just 15, he became the youngest artist and first clarinetist to be nominated for Best New Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2010 Victoires de la musique classique. By the time he turned 19, he had already received a degree with highest honors from the Conservatoire national supérieur de Paris.

Mr. Sévère’s U.S. tour this season includes recitals at the University of Florida Performing Arts, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Embassy Series, Vancouver Recital Society, and appearances as soloist with Sinfonia Gulf Coast and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He appears at festivals in France including Les Musicales de Pommiers, Festival du Périgord Noir, Festival du Comminges, and Festival du Vigan, as well as Festival Amadeus in Geneva. Mr. Sévère also performs in Paris, Lucerne, Montpellier, and Bucharest, Romania, and as soloist with French orchestras including L’Orchestra de Normandie, L’Orchestra de Basse-Normandie, and L’Orchestre Provence Côte D’Azur.

As a soloist, Mr. Sévère has performed with many orchestras throughout France, including the Orchestre National de France. Outside of his home country, he has played with the Russian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov, as well as the Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has also participated in La Folle Journée festivals in Nantes, Bilbao, and Tokyo, as well as the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, Festival International de Colmar, Festival de Menton, Festival Antibes Génération Virtuoses, and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. During his first U.S. tour last season, he performed concerts at the Paramount Theatre, the Port Washington Library, the University at Buffalo, the Center for Arts in Natick, Rockefeller University, and the Levine School of Music. A seasoned chamber player, Mr. Sévère frequently collaborates with distinguished musicians including YCA alumni Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, Olivier Charlier, and the Modigliani String Quartet.

Winner of the 2013 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Mr. Sévère gave his New York and Washington, D.C. recital debuts on the Young Concert Artists Series last season. At the YCA Auditions, he was the recipient of the Alexander Kasza-Kasser Prize and the Korean Concert Society Prize, which provide support for his Kennedy Center debut, as well as the Leona Green Prize for Winds.

After an early music education that included piano, violin, and cello, Mr. Sévère began playing the clarinet at the age of eight, and was admitted to the Conservatoire national supérieur de Paris at 14. When he was 12 years old, he recorded his first album, Récital de musique française, which received four stars from Diapason; his second album, Opus 2, received five. Mr. Sévère’s most recent recordings include the Berio Folk Songs on Naïve Records and an album of Brahms works.

This performance marks Raphaël Sévère’s La Jolla Music Society debut.

Paul MontagBorn in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Paul Montag began playing piano at the age of four. Two years later, he entered France’s National Regional Conservatory of Boulogne-Billancourt and at 11 was awarded a Unanimous First Prize. At 13, he was admitted to France’s National Superior Conservatory of Music of Paris (CNSM), where he earned two recital prizes. Later he attended France’s Normal School of Music in Paris, where he earned the Superior Perfection Certificate and the Concert Certificate, and participated in the master classes of pianists Anne Quéfélec, François-René Duchâble, Jean-Claude Pennetier and Paul Badura-Skoda.

As an award winner of the Cziffra Foundation and a recipient of the Charles Oulmont Prize of the Foundation of France, he was invited at a young age to play in a number of renowned festivals throughout Europe including those at Sceaux, Epau, Colmar, Senlis, Evian, Milan, Sienna, Bamberg and Porto. He also frequently performed at major Parisian halls including the Gaveau, the Cortot, the Mogador and the Salle Pleyel. In recent years he has been touring and giving master classes in Japan and Vietnam.

He recently recorded Paul Hindemith’s youth piano music; a complete edition of Albert Roussel’s melodies; and songs of Charles-Marie Widor and Félicien David. He loves musical diversity and is particularly fond of contemporary repertoire, participating in numerous musical world premieres as well as recordings on France Musique and broadcasts for the Nippon Television Network System.

This performance marks Paul Montag’s La Jolla Music Society debut