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 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jamie Phillips, a live-streamed performance at the Wigmore Hall of Schubert’s E flat trio with Steven Isserlis and Mishka Rushdie Momen, and a Gala Concert at the Philharmonie de Paris with Khatia Buniatishvili.
Engagements during the 2021/22 season include her debut with the Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Janusz Piotrowicz, a solo recital at Wigmore Hall with pianist Ariel Lanyi, and concerts in Lucerne with Steven Isserlis and Connie Shih as part of a Saint-Saëns Festival. She will be in Norway for the Norsjo Chamber Music Festival in April, and returns to the Kryzowa Chamber Music Festival and Open Chamber Music at IMS Prussia Cove.
Irène has performed widely in Europe, giving recitals at major venues and festivals including the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Salle Gaveau, Dresdner Kulturpalast, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Fondation Singer-Polignac, Festival de la Roque d’Antheron and Les Folles Journées.
Solo highlights include the Dresdner Philharmonie, Kremerata Baltica and Orchestre Colonne, working with such conductors as Maxim Emelyanychev and Michael Sanderling. In 2017 she released her first CD ‘Poèmes’ for Mirare/Harmonia Mundi to critical acclaim. (Gramophone magazine) ‘Of all the recordings in this collection,’Poèmes’ is the one that most effectively balances the slick new world of French performance with the smoky, claustrophobic atmosphere of music still soaked in the nostalgia of the Belle Epoque. There is a real sense of being taken back through the mists of time.’
Further afield Irène has appeared during the Folles Journées with L’Orchestre d’Auvergne (conducted by Roberto Fores Veses) and Sinfonia Varsovia (conducted by Robert Trevino) at the National Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
Sought after as a chamber musician, Irène has taken part in the Festival de Pâques de Deauville, Les Vacances de Monsieur Haydn, Centre de Musique de Chambre de Paris, Kronberg Academy’s Festivals and IMS Prussia Cove, performing with such musicians as Gidon Kremer, Ferenc Rados, Christian Tetzlaff and Martin Helmchen.
During her studies Irène won multiple competitions including a Révélation classique de l’Adami award and 1st prize at the 46th International Instrumental Competition in Markneukirchen. She is grateful for support from the ArteMusica Stiftung in Frankfurt and is one of the artists of the Swiss Gunther-Caspar Stiftung for the next three years.
* * *
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.
In 2021 Irène was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust International Auditions.