Although he dismisses the notion of "schools" in music, Augustin Dumay is a worthy descendant of the great French violin school, whose roots go back to Ginette Neveu, Christian Ferras and Zino Francescatti.
Augustin Dumay was born into a family of musicians. He started the piano and violin at a very early age. In 1959, he was accepted into the Paris conservatoire, where he studied violin with Roland Charmy and piano with Jean Hubeau. He graduated with distinctions at the age of 14. In 1963, he performed for the first time at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. That same year, he gave a recital at the Montreux Festival, attended by Henryk Szeryng and Joseph Szigeti. The latter subsequently suggested that the young violinist might fill a replacement that he was unable to fill himself, in South America.
On his return, Augustin Dumay studied with Arthur Grumiaux and Nathan Milstein, who, with foresight, remarked: "I think he will be one of the great violinists of the year 2000". Already famous in France at the age of 20, he did a tour in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic conducted by Seiji Ozawa. He was very impressed by the way Western music was played in Japan and subsequently returned there frequently. In 1979, Augustin Dumay performed in Paris with Herbert von Karajan conducting. Immediately afterwards, he was invited to play at the Berliner Philharmonie with Sir Colin Davis conducting. His international reputation was firmly established. He was regularly invited by prestigious orchestras, such as the Orchestre National de France, the London Symphony Orchestra or the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, under conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Wolfgang Sawallisch or Kurt Sanderling.
Augustin Dumay began studying conducting at the age of 17 with one of Karajan's assistants, who had him conduct chamber orchestras. A recording of Mozart violin concertos with the Camerata Salzburg conducted by himself was released in 1998 to unanimous praise by the press. Dumay became guest conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra. In 2011, he was appointed musical director of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra in Osaka, Japan. Augustin Dumay continued nevertheless to play chamber music. Very early in his career, he was playing with the leading French soloists of his generation, such as Michel Béroff, Jean-Philippe Collard and Frédéric Lodéon. In 1975, he contributed to the recording, at EMI, of Gabriel Fauré's complete chamber music. In the 1990s, he recorded sonata cycles for violin and piano by Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Mozart with the pianist Maria Joao Pires. The pair delivered many acclaimed performances on stage.
Augustin Dumay plays a Stradivarius from 1721 that belonged to Fritz Kreisler.
Six landmark dates in the life of Augustin Dumay:
1963: 1st major recital at the Montreux Festival, attended by Szeryng and Szigety.
1975: contributed to the recording of Fauré's complete chamber music.
1979: concert in Paris conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
1992: released a recording of Beethoven's complete violin sonatas with Maria Joao Pires.
1998: first recording at the head of the Camerata Salzburg.
2011: appointed musical director of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra.
Official website: http://augustindumay.com/
Biography compiled from Radio France documentation, December 2014