Viviane Chassot


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The Swiss accordionist Viviane Chassot has been one of the few players of her instrument to successfully build a career in the classical concert sphere. Chassot was born in Zurich in 1979 and settled on the accordion as her instrument when she was 12, obsessed with the idea of playing Bach's music (which she has not as of this writing yet recorded) on it. She attended the University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland, studying accordion there with Teodoro Anzellotti. By 2004 she had won major prizes such as the Kranichstein Music Award in Germany, and she graduated in 2006 with an accordion performance degree. At that point, however, she experienced a crisis of confidence and set her instrument aside for a year. "Life began again in 2007," she told the newspaper Der Sonntag, and within two years she had released her debut album, a set of Haydn piano sonatas, on Germany's Genuin label. That was followed by an album of Rameau's Pièces de clavecin in 2011 and New Horizons, a set of new works for accordion in 2014, both on Genuin. The latter album featured works by composers from the German-speaking sphere: Stefan Wirth, Heinz Holliger, Rudolf Kelterborn, Bernhard Lang, and Helena Winkelman. That album was nominated for the German Record Critics' Award. Chassot has been an energetic champion of contemporary music, also performing works by Beat Furrer, Michael Pelzel, Toshio Hosokawa, Roland Moser, Henri Dutilleux, Jörg Widmann, Friedrich Cerha, and Arman Gushchyan. Her 2016 album, Objets Trouvés, was a collaboration with zither player Martin Mallaun, and she has also performed and recorded with chamber groups and with dancers, including those of the Cincinnati Ballet, with whom she has performed at New York's Guggenheim Museum. Increasing critical attention led to Chassot's signing by the Sony Classical label, becoming surely the only accordionist in the illustrious history of the label's roster. She released her Sony debut, an album of Haydn keyboard concertos, with the Basel Chamber Orchestra, which she conducted from the keyboard. The album received strong critical acclaim even beyond German-language publications. Chassot is professor of accordion at the Basel Music Academy.