" There came a beautiful day, when I knew I had no choice but to sing. From the beginning, I had a clear vision of my musical direction: I wanted to express freedom and beauty, and dedicate myself to what is deepest in us. But I had not yet found my true voice. In the years that followed, each of my teachers brought something unique to me. Hildegard of Bingen was my primary source of inspiration, but David Hykes opened extraordinary, new horizons of the voice for me, especially concerning the quality of attention, and listening. Nageswara Rao, the Indian master of Carnatic music, gave me a taste for high standards, and was also the first person to encourage me when I began to compose.
Singing is a quest which demands no less than everything of me. I love both utter simplicity and extreme complexity, labyrinthine melody as well as rhythmic power. Yet more important than musical forms, I try to go beyond my limits, and share this with others. "
After her master's degree in mathematics and biology, she began to change careers, finally devoting herself entirely to music.
● Lyric singing : Magali Damonte, Philippe Ballois de "A Sei Voci"
● Gregorian Chant : Institut Catholique de Paris with Soeur Marie-Claire Billecoq, Gregorian specialist at the Vatican, and at the University of Strasbourg
● Medieval Music : Centre de Musique Médiévale de Paris
● Harmonic Chant : David Hykes
● South Indian singing : Pandit Nageswara Rao, Carnatic tradition
The Harmonic Choir de David Hykes
Soon their first meeting, David Hykes invited Catherine Braslavsky to become a member of his Harmonic Choir, and employed her as an assistant in his teaching of Harmonic Chant. This led to many international concerts (Tokyo, Los Angeles, Barcelone, Prague, Varsovie, Zurich, Zagreb, Amsterdam, Glasgow…), as well as concerts in France (Festival d'Art Sacré in Paris, Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Abbaye du Thoronet, Eté de Bourges, Lille...).
After six years, she left the Harmonic Choir in order to devote herself to her own music.
First Albums and Concerts
Pierre Toureille, director of the prestigious Ocora collection of Radio France, discovered Catherine Braslavsky, and arranged for her to record her first album on the traditional music label, Al Sur. The following year, he invited her to perform at the concert hall of Radio France, as well as the Festival International du Périgord Pourpre, in a program which included Lakshmi Shankar et Stéphane Grapelli.
Since then : numerous CDs, music for film and télévision, theatrical performances, collaborations
Composer and performer, Catherine Braslavsky directs several ensembles, ranging from duo to 12-voice choir (Terra Sancta, The Catherine Braslavsky Ensemble, and her world music group..). She has recorded eight CDs and produced seven theatrical pieces, in collaboration with Joseph Rowe. She has collaborated and performed with artists such as Alain Kremski, Steve Shehan, Marie Christine Barrault, and Yuval Ron, and continues her research into music of ancient and medieval times, brought into a contemporary setting. She has produced several musical soundtracks for French television, and for documentary films. As an experienced teacher, she proposes her method of “natural chant”: a work on the voice, and an approach to improvisation which awakens our natural vocal ability. It is based on several improvisational traditions, but is limited to none of them. She directs individual and collective classes and workshops in France, and abroad.
Of American origin, Joseph Rowe studied philosophy of religion, transpersonal psychology, and classical guitar. He also studied classical Middle Eastern oud with Hamza El Din, a master whose unique marriage of voice and oud, and of Nubian and Arab influences, was one of the pioneers of what is now called "world music." Joseph performed several times onstage with Hamza, notably in a concert with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco.[Follow this link for a personal memoir of Hamza El Din] He also concertized extensively with other Arab, Persian, and African musicians, as well as with medieval groups. During extensive travels in Africa, he learned and performed with musicians from the Congo (drums, flute), and with Mideastern dervishes (percussion, voice, oud), as well as with Afro-Brazilian percussionists and healers.
During the 1980's he worked as a radio producer for National Public Radio stations, and was among the first designers of programs combining classical, jazz, world, and new music, and interspersed with cultural and public affairs interviews.
He now lives in Paris, where he has turned more and more to music and theater, working as musician, writer, composer, and actor. Besides his extensive work with Catherine Braslavsky, he has collaborated with Marc Zammit at the Théâtre Molière in Paris, and with Alain Kremski and Michael Lonsdale at the Cluny Museum (Paris Festival of Sacred Art). He has composed music for a number of theater pieces by authors such as Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Jean Giono, and Roland Dubillard. He has also composed and recorded music for French television and documentary films. A writer and storyteller, he writes texts for theatrical performance pieces with music. He has published a number of short stories, poetry, book reviews, and magazine articles.
In his work as literary translator, he has translated books by authors such as Henry Corbin, Jacques Attali, Régis Debray, Jean-Yves Leloup, Pierre Rabhi, and books on Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. He is also active in research and teaching in the field of meditation, in relation to musical and rhythmic exercises, inspired by dervish practices. This has led to a type of musical body-work, which he calls Holorhythm. Besides his work with Catherine in performances and workshops, he also animates meditation groups and sees individual clients in France and abroad.