ÉMILE SAURET (1852 - 1920)
Violinist and composer, child prodigy and internationally-renowned virtuoso, Émile Sauret’s extraordinarily successful career spanned two continents and more than half a century. He was born in 1852 in Dun-le-Roi in France, but details of his early life and training are few. Some contemporary sources state that he attended classes at the Paris Conservatoire, others at the Conservatory in Strasbourg. It is unclear whether or not he enrolled at the Brussels Conservatory, although he did study with the famous Belgian violinist and teacher Charles de Bériot, as well as with Henri Vieuxtemps, to whom he dedicated part of his Gradus ad Parnassum du violiniste. What is certain, however, is that by the time he was eight years old, Sauret was already being invited to play at public concerts in Vienna, London and Paris, where he frequently performed at the court of Napoleon III. His reputation quickly began to spread, and he began to tour across Europe, visiting Russia, Sweden, England, France, Italy and Germany, among other countries. Reviewers were unanimous in praising his emotional intensity, delicate phrasing, show-stopping technique and phenomenal musical memory.
In 1872, after emerging from a two-year stint in the army, Sauret made the first of many visits to America, where he soon became extremely popular. It was whilst on tour in the United States that he met his first wife, the Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño. They married in 1873, and Teresa gave birth to a daughter shortly afterwards, but the couple divorced only two years later. Sauret’s second, more successful, marriage took place in 1879. Meanwhile he continued to travel, performing and teaching. He was known not simply for his work as a soloist, but as a chamber musician as well. He had many private pupils, and also held posts at a variety of institutions, including the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in Berlin, the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he had moved in 1890, the Musical College in Chicago, a position that he accepted in 1903, and finally Trinity College in London, an appointment which he took up in 1908. The publication of his pedagogical work Gradus ad Parnassum du violiniste—a series of challenging exercises designed to instruct students in the skills that had made him so famous—took place in 1896. Since 1892 he had also been a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. He lived in London during the final years of his life, dying there on 12 February 1920.