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The Swiss-French flute player Emmanuel Pahud is one of today’s most exciting and adventurous musicians, known for his wide repertoire, including baroque, classical and jazz.
Born in 1970 in Geneva into a non-musical family, the young Emmanuel was captivated from an early age by the sound of the flute played by their neighbour. He told his parents, "I want to play the flute, I want to play the Mozart concerto that guy next door is practicing."
From the age of four, Pahud was tutored and mentored by a number of accomplished flautists, including formal training at the Conservatoire de Paris.
He leapt into the international orchestral and solo music scene when he was appointed Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. At 22, he was the youngest player in the Berlin Philharmonic, a position to which he returned in 2002 under Sir Simon Rattle after taking a 18-month teaching sabbatical.
Pahud performed with the Berlin Philharmonic on his first release, the complete Mozart Concertos for Flute and for Flute and Harp in 1997, for which he received several awards.
Pahud's first flute was a silver-plated Yamaha. His parents later bought him two Muramatsu Flutes, one half hand-made and the other fully hand-made. Pahud currently plays a 14-karat golden flute which he bought in 1989 with money he won from competitions.
Pahud plays around 160 concerts a year – 90 solo or chamber music and 75 orchestral concerts in an average year – roughly twice the number of performances that most musicians would consider a heavy work-load.
Pahud has dedicated himself to commissioning new work. Though he is an enthusiastic consumer of new music, he sounds most excited when revisiting the old repertoire.
As a dedicated chamber musician, he has recently made international appearances throughout Europe, North America and Japan in recital with pianists Éric Le Sage and Stephen Kovacevich as well as in a flute and string quartet .
Pahud plays in diverse music genres, whether baroque, jazz, contemporary, classical, orchestral, or chamber music.
In 1996 he signed an exclusive contract with EMI Classics, the only flautist in the world to have a solo recording contract with a major record company. He has recorded and/or collaborated a total of 24 discs with EMI.