Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe

(*Liège 16 July 1858; † Brussels 12 May 1931)

Eugène Ysaÿe, a Belgian violinist and composer belongs both to the great Franko-Belgian violin school of the 19th century and to the generation of Impressionist composers of the early 20th. A disciple of two renowned masters, Henri Vieuxtemps et Henryk Wieniawsky, Ysaÿe was a friend and the first interpreter of César Franck‘s and Camille Saint-Saëns‘ works as well as a mentor and inspirator of Fritz Kreisler, Josef Szigeti and George Enescu. Ysaÿe‘s style and virtuosity brought him worldwide fame and admiration. He was an esteemed teacher as well as an outstanding chamber musician and conductor. It was after his return to Belgium in July 1923, when, at the age of 65 Ysaÿe wrote his best-known work: the Six Sonatas for violin solo op.27, each of them dedicated to a young European violinist.

Inspired by Johann-Sebastian Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo and Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices, Ysaÿe’s Sonatas combine technical innovation with powerful poetical expressivity.

And like Paganini before him, Ysaÿe dedicated his most important work to violinists of the next generation.