Christian Wirth, saxophone soprano
Sylvain Malezieux, saxophone alto
Fabrizio Mancuso, saxophone tenor
Gilles Tressos, saxophone baryton
'Gentlemen, you must understand that we cannot accept anyone and everyone at our festival' Those encouraging words, pronounced by a festival director, had the immediate effect of bringing Sylvain Malezieux, Fabrizio Mancuso, Christian Wirth and Gilles Tressos even closer together, concentrating their energy on the simple values that are necessary in any chamber music venture: friendship and a close working relationship.
After winning first prizes for chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSM), the four musicians took the advanced course there with Michel Moragues and Lazlo Hadady, before going on to win first prizes at seven international chamber music competitions (including Dusseldorf, Sanguinetto and Bordeaux).
Voted 'Revelations classiques de l'ADAMI' in 2000, the Habanera Quartet give regular performances in France (Radio-France, IRCAM, Cannes Midem...) and other countries (including Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, United States, China and Japan) as well as appearing on television (French Classical Music Awards 2000 with Marielle Nordmann). The Quartet met Louis Sclavis at the 'Ecouter-Voir' Festival in Lyons, and they have appeared together regularly ever since. In November 2002 Jack Febus Productions filmed them in concert at the submarine base at Bordeaux; the film will be presented shortly on Arte, Mezzo, and France 3.
In 1999 Gyorgy Ligeti gave them permission to play and record a version for saxophone quartet of his Six Bagatelles. The CD - entitled Mysterious morning (Alpha 010) - also includes works by Franco Donatoni, Sofia Gubaidulina, Fuminori Tanada and Iannis Xenakis. It received great critical acclaim and was awarded top ratings by French music magazines Diapason and Repertoire.
The Habanera Quartet now celebrate their tenth anniversary. Supported by Selmer, Vandoren and BG, the musicians wish to go on developing their repertoire in all its forms and for all types of audiences. Their various plans include a forthcoming recording with Louis Sclavis, on the borderline between written music and improvisation.
(translation: Mary Pardoe) (fragment from the Alpha CD cover)