Emmanuelle Bernard

Emmanuelle Bernard (*Die, France, 1980) is a passionate chamber music player invited regularly to participate in festivals such as the Podiumfestival in Haugesund, the Israel Festival, the Zermatt music festival, Ultraschall Berlin or Maerzmusik. As a soloist and as a concertmaster she has toured Asia, South America and Europe with the European Union Chamber orchestra and the Heidelberger Symphoniker.

Emmanuelle studied the violin at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London with Natasha Boyarskaya and Hu Kun and at the Hanns Eisler Musik Hochschule in Berlin with Eberhard Feltz, where she won the “Hanns Eisler Preis für Interpretation zeitgenössischer Musik”. In 2008 she co-founded the Zafraan Ensemble für Neue Musik Berlin which concentrates mostly on music written after 1980, commissioning a great part of their repertoire and covering a wide range of concert formats, from chamber music recitals to big music theatre and chamber opera productions. In that same year she started barock violin playing under the guidance of Elizabeth Wallfisch and went on to study it at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt with Petra Müllejans.


1. Be open to yourself, to others and move

2. It’s amazing what we can do and share together

3. A river, a mountain, a home


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
There is no one inspiration and it keeps changing: for example it can be playing chamber music, a changing human voice, moving in a beautiful space…

2. How and when did you get into making music?
Playing in a string orchestra Bartok’s Divertimento when I was 11 and Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht when I was 12.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
The Beatles “abbey road”, Georges Brassens’ complete songs, Tom Waits “Alice” and Mathias Halvorsen’s and Miguel Pérez Iñesta’s new CD.

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Change: from being like a sleeping beauty, more strange than beautiful, to being un-charmingly busy, dirty, selling quickly its own spirit.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Which is my town? Although it’s not “my” only town, I would say Berlin as I have spent over half of my life here. Favourite places after home and the Dujardin coffee/bar with great cakes around the corner are the parks, Friedrichshain, Humboldthain, Rehberge with Plötzensee, our rehearsing places, the little river Panke.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Sing, dance and be a woodcarver/carpenter and astronomer or neuroscientist.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Leonard Rose recordings.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d like to carry on playing it with great “classical” musicians and from time to time collaborate with actors and dancers, in small formations.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Performer: Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintet in Spiegelsaal September 2015. Spectator: at 8 o’clock a.m. on the 1st of May 2008 in Kreuzberg: Ronu Majumdar.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I have learned a lot, and I have been strongly influenced by many recordings. Recording myself, which I haven’t done much until recently, has been also useful, but that all stays secondary. The process which includes the most creativity for me, is the work with my instruments and with my colleagues leading to and including a concert – the moment of sharing the music with a real living audience in a shared space.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have two brothers. They both love music and I think that they are proud that their sister took up this profession, but sometimes they must also be fed up with this freelance classical violinist activity, which takes so much concentration and led me to be quite far away from them.

Since 2016 Emmanuelle dedicates half of her time to the barock violin playing mostly with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin with whom she appeared recently alongside Isabelle Faust as a soloist. She works regularly with composers such as Stefan Keller, José María Sanchez-Verdú, Tristan Murail, Ursula Mamlok, Gabriel Iranyi, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Yoav Pasovski or Laure M. Hiendl. She took part in many CDs such as Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and the CD portrait of the composer Sarah Nemtsov. In 2018 Emmanuelle recorded the chamber-music and solo works of Samir Odeh-Tamimi for the Kairos Label and in 2019, Christophe Bertrand’s chamber music for Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Her recording of Johannes Schöllhorn’s chamber music works will be released in October 2021. She is currently taking part in the Akademie für Alte Musik’s new recording cycle of Beethoven’s Symphonies. She has recorded live, among others, for the French television France 2, Deutschland Radio and Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Photo © Anton Tal