Born in France, to a French father and Korean mother, Irène Duval grew up in Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong before returning to France at the age of 11. Having graduated from the Conservatoire de Paris and Kronberg Academy, Irène is now firmly establishing herself as a compelling and versatile performer with a strong interest in combining little-known works with works central to the repertoire.
Praised for her mastery of phrasing and of the dramatic dimension (Diapason), astonishing virtuosity (Revelation Classiques) and her infinite delicacy (Le Populaire du centre), Irène has won multiple international competitions and is an active performer of concerti, recitals and chamber music.
Recent highlights include her debut with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in the inauguration concert of the Casals Forum in Kronberg, her debut with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and her return with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jamie Phillips.
This season, she gives recitals at Perth Concert Hall (broadcast by BBC Radio 3), the Bath, Brighton, and Lammermuir International Festivals, and in Budapest at Kamara.hu Festival. Irène records a new album with pianist Angus Webster, celebrating Fauré and his friends Saint-Saëns, Enescu, and Hahn, to be released by Capriccio in Spring 2024.
Sought after as a chamber musician, she collaborates with Khatia Buniatishvili at Klavier Ruhr Festival and Rheingau Festival, and with Steven Isserlis at Hindsgavl Festival in Danemark, and Cervo in Italy. She will make her debut in Australia beginning of the year 2024.
Irène has performed widely in Europe, giving recitals at major venues and festivals including the Konzerthaus Berlin, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Salle Gaveau, Dresdner Kulturpalast, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Fondation Singer-Polignac, Festival de la Roque d’Anthéron and Les Folles Journées à Nantes et au Japon.
Solo highlights include collaborations with the Dresdner Philharmonie, Orchestre d’Auvergne, Sinfonia Varsovia at the National Forum in Tokyo, Kremerata Baltica, working with such conductors as Maxim Emelyanychev, Michael Sanderling, Robert Trevino, and Roberto Fores Veses.
Chamber music holds a big space in Irène’s heart and she feels lucky to have had the chance to play with musicians Gidon Kremer, Olli Mustonen, Ferenc Rados, and Christian Tetzlaff. She participates with great pleasure in Open Chamber Music d’IMS Prussia Cove in Cornwall, Krzyzowa Chamber Music Festival in Poland, Norsjo Chamber Music Festival in Norway and Chamber Music Connects the World Festival at Kronberg Academy.
Irène plays a beautiful Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, which is kindly on loan to her through the Beare’s International Violin Society.
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Irène began studying the violin at the age of seven in Hong Kong. Back in France in 2003, she studied with Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Suzanne Gessner, and at CNSM of Paris with Roland Daugareil and Daria Hovora. In 2013, she completed her Masters degree with distinction, and received the award of Révélation classique de l’Adami.
In 2009 and 2010, Irène won the 1st prize and the public prize at the International Violin Competition of Avignon and two special prizes at the 1st edition of the International Violin Competition in Mirecourt: the prize for most exceptional personality and the prize for the best interpretation of a French sonata for her performance of the Poulenc sonata. In May 2011, Irène was awarded the 1st prize at the 46th International Instrumental Competition in Markneukirchen for her performance of the Beethoven violin concerto, as well as the Manfred-Scherzer prize for her outstanding interpretation of a piece by Reger. Her performance of the Beethoven concerto received accolades, the German Free Press noting that ‘it was a Beethoven in heaven. Her sound in the second movement was like the music of the angels.’ (16.05.2011 Beethoven im Paradies, Deutsche Freie Presse).
In 2012, Irène received the Appassionato Joël Klépal prize in Caen and was given a generous grant from the Meyer Fondation. In 2014, she went at the Kronberg Academy in Germany to study with Mihaela Martin in Further Master Studies, and received artistic advice from internationally renowned musicians until 2017.
She has been supported by Fondation pour la vocation Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, Fondation SAFRAN pour la musique, la Fondation de l’Or du Rhin, la Fondation d’Entreprise Banque Populaire, ArteMusica Stiftung, and Günther Caspar Stiftung.
In 2021 Irène was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust International Auditions.