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MUSIC ‣ Musician of the Month, November-December, Antoine Dutaillis , Pianist, Composer, Conductor

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

Phil Cartwright, Founder

Born in Paris in 1996, Antoine Dutaillis began his musical studies at an early age with the piano, guitar and choir singing. After he obtained a scientific Baccalauréat with honors, he entered in 2013, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP). He studied piano accompaniment with Reiko Hozu, Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, and composition with teachers such as Thierry Escaich and Jean-François Zygel. Very interested in operatic repertoire, he also studied vocal coaching with Erika Guiomar and he obtained three Master's degrees at the CNSMDP in composition, piano accompaniment and vocal coaching, all with honors. He also obtained diplomas in musical analysis (Claude Abromont) and in orchestration (Anthony Girard).

From very early on in his studies he was attracted to orchestral conducting. He first studied with Adrian McDonnell and George Pehlivanian, before he was admitted into Alain Altinoglu's conducting class at the CNSMDP in 2017. In addition to these classes, he benefited from the advice of Mikko Franck, Bertrand de Billy, Pascal Rophé, Arie Van Beek, Tito Ceccherini, Ariane Matiakh, Lawrence Foster. He has conducted various professional orchestras and ensembles, among them the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestre National Avignon-Provence, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre Régional de Picardie, and the North Hungary Symphonic Orchestra (Miskolc). In 2020, he was a semi-finalist at the Siemens Hallé International Conducting Competition, Manchester. He also conducted a concert version of Mozart's The Magic Flute at The Museum of Fine Arts in Valenciennes (France). At the Opéra Comique (Paris), he played for a Barbara Hannigan's Masterclass.

In 2021, consistent with his interest in opera, Antoine created a short version of Wagner's Tannhäuser, playing a piano reduction with a group of singers, dancers and a brass quintet, under his direction (CNSMDP). He was assistant conductor to Alexander Briger for a production of Britten's Turn of the Screw, co-produced by the Philharmonie de Paris. In September 2021, he was assistant conductor to Semyon Bychkov at the Paris Philharmonie for Mahler 2nd symphony, with the Choeur et Orchestre de Paris.

Eager to share music with younger audiences, he led a choir of 350 high-schoolers at the Zenith de Paris. He also conducted soloists of the Opera de Paris in a partnership with a community choir for the premiere recording of Thierry Escaich's Ballade (3ème scène). Antoine has also worked for an extended period as a pianist, improviser, and composer at « Le Hall de la Chanson » (National Dramatic Center) where he performed numerous shows with singers and actors.

Most recently, he arranged songs of Anne Sylvestre for the National Orchestra of Ile de France (ONDIF), and recorded his own piano reduction of Respighi's Fontane di Roma. He has composed numerous pieces, including, scene music and a musical (The Agency, 2021).

Preferred Music?

Many various styles and composers have influenced me greatly.

In terms of orchestral repertory, I am particularly drawn to composers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (among them : Strauss, Mahler... but also Stravinsky, Bartok, Ravel...).The orchestra began to expand at that time, with a bigger and more diverse selection of instruments. As a result, the sound pallet grew deeper and more diverse. Non-classical music, such as folk tunes or jazz music, impacted a number of compositions at the time.

Enescu's opera Oedipe, which has not been produced in 60 years and was just brought back to the stage this season at the Paris Opera - Bastille, is one of my most recent musical discoveries. I adored the score, which was vibrant and full of musical ideas. Berg's opera Lulu, in which I appreciated the intensity and poetry, was also performed in a superb production at the Brussels Opera "La Monnaie."

Most memorable moment as a professional musician?

As a young professional musician, I consider any experience valuable and intriguing. Meeting a new orchestra, for example, is always a thrilling and enlightening musical and human experience for me.

I also enjoy collaborating with artists from other disciplines, such as dance, theater, and current music (les musiques actuelles), as well as interacting with a younger audience.

A project that left a lasting impression on me took place at Paris Zenith a few years ago. It was a show that featured contemporary dancers who choreographed different pieces, a small orchestra, and a large choir of 350 high-school students from Paris and the suburbs. I must admit, managing all of these people at the same time was quite a challenge!

I was particularly moved by Thierry Escaich's confidence, as he granted me the chance to direct one of his compositions very early on.

Describe your dream performance.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the last concert I conducted was the first with a "normal" setting and crowd. It was, in some ways, a dream performance because I had been anticipating it for so long. And it made me feel fantastic.

Whether I'm playing or conducting, I enjoy sharing the exact moment of the performance with the musicians and the audience. I also aspire for a sense of freedom and improvisation during the concert, which, of course, necessitates a great deal of work and preparation beforehand in order to avoid jeopardizing the performance's quality.


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