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Yukari Cousineau is the concertmaster of the Orchestre Métropolitain under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. A member of this orchestra since 1998, she held the position of assistant concertmaster until 2003 and then that of associate principal viola from 2003 to 2009. She is also currently a member of:
* the Magellan Ensemble (featuring Olivier Thouin, Yukari Cousineau, Yegor Dyachkov and Jean Saulnier)
* the La Muse string quartet that she founded in 2008
Yukari Cousineau, who plays the violin and the viola with equal ease, has been performing on stage for over 25 years. Her talent blossomed early and she now displays the experience, profound musical maturity and virtuosity that make her an exceptional violinist.
As an 11 year old chamber player, she played solo violin in the world premiere of Alcides Lanza’s Modulos III. At 12, she made her first tour as a soloist, interpreting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in several Québec cities. In 1987 and 1992, Cousineau toured in France. In 1999, she returned to Bourges, France, where she gave a recital of works for solo violin (Ysaÿe, Prokofiev and Bach). She repeated the experience in 2010, playing works by Bach, Paganini, Telemann, and Ysaÿe.
Since these early engagements, she has performed more than two thousand times, appearing both as a soloist and as a member of chamber and symphony orchestras. Cousineau played as Concertmaster for the Petits Violons (age 11 to 20) as well as for the Orchestre de Ville Mont-Royal and the Orchestre de chambre de l’UQAM. She was also the Orchestre de chambre Appassionata and the McGill chamber orchestra’s principal viola. Since the 2008-2009 season, she has often been invited to perform as concertmaster by the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil.
She played in groups such as La Pietà (violin and viola), the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (violin), the Cordes Romantiques (violin), the Trio Cousineau (violin and viola), and the Molinari Quartet (viola). She has also been invited to perform with ensembles such as the Ensemble Romulo Larrea and at a number of festivals including Un été à Bourges, the Festival de Músiques de Torroella de Mongrí, the Orford Festival, the Mountain View Festival, the festivals Concerts aux îles du Bic and Rendez-vous musical de Laterrière and also the Festival de Lanaudière. She has also appeared in recitals with, among others, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Alvaro Pierri. In 2006, she was invited to perform as a soloist with the McGill Chamber Orchestra. That same year, she played Locatelli’s 12th Violin Concerto, the “Labyrinthe harmonique”, with the Ensemble instrumental Appassionata, and the Québec première was broadcast by Radio-Canada. This “pyrotechnic” concerto, which is considered to be physically “unplayable”, equals or perhaps even surpasses the works of his successor, Paganini. Yukari has also performed as a soloist with the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil, and, recently, with the Orchestre Métropolitain.
She has been an instructor at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) for about 10 years and notably responsible for the university's violin and viola classes.
Since her earliest childhood, Yukari has always been immersed in chamber and orchestral music. Born into a family of musicians, she is the daughter of Jean Cousineau and the niece of François Cousineau and Luc Cousineau. Her journey as a violinist began at the age of five, when she began intensive study of the instrument under her father's tutelage. Jean Cousineau founded Les Petits Violons music school and is one of the famous Parisian professor René Benedetti’s pupils (Benedetti also trained Christian Ferras, Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Sir Neville Marriner, among others). Without interrupting her intensive musical training, she also studied literature and philosophy before moving on to study violin with Martin Foster of the Université du Québec à Montréal’s music department. Upon completion of her studies, she earned the highest mark ever granted on a final exam, which remains to this day, the highest mark the department has ever given for any instrument. She was twice selected for the Radio-Canada series Jeunes artistes, and later continued her studies with Jean-Jacques Kantorow (
Cousineau has also played in numerous events in the world of show business: she has played for Ginette Reno, Diane Dufresne, Rock Voisine, Diana Ross, Dave Brubeck, François Cousineau, Boule Noire, Isabelle Boulay, Gregory Charles, Henri Dès, Lara Fabian, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Bori, Corneliu, etc. She has participated in numerous recordings for television and feature-length film scores such as Noces de papier (principal violin), Le Secret de ma mère (viola solo), Head in the Clouds (principal violin with the Orchestre Métropolitain), Roméo et Juliette, Un Homme et son péché and Cheech.
a Mendelssohn concerto boldly attacked with panache, vigour and a superb production of sound. There was even a true choice of interpretation: an energetic and very cantabile andante (2nd movement).
Christophe Huss, Le Devoir
[in Mendelssohn], Cousineau exhibited a rare combination of sensitivity and virtuosity
Xavier Proulx, Pieuvre.ca
Yukari Cousineau in Berg: a success. The performance was more than remarkable. [...] Yukari Cousineau made no mistakes. With perfect pitch and precision, she played the score teaming with notes. Some of the versions [heard in Montreal since 1959 by Christian Ferras, Pina Carmirelli, Pierre Amoyal, Gidon Kremer, Chantal Juillet, Frank Peter Zimmermann, and Vivian Hagner]
were much inferior to Yukari Cousineau's.
Claude Gingras, La Presse
With great purity of style, Yukari Cousineau offered up a sublimely beautiful interpretation of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Winston McQuade, radio host and communicator
Yukari Cousineau superbly blends the extravagance and the precision that are characteristics of the Baroque era.
The timber was brilliant, the passages virtuoso, skilled and moving. [...] Vivaldi's Four Seasons reached
a dizzying level of finesse.
Charlotte Mercille, Pieuvre.ca
A violin virtuoso… with a praiseworthy musical intellect.
An interpretation full of eloquence and sensitivity…
Lluís Trullén, ABC,
The revelation of this concert was violonist Yukari Cousineau, who “dares” Bach’s A minor and succeeds
Some of the solo string playing was outstanding, particularly that of violist Yukari Cousineau
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen
Yukari Cousineau... produced a tone of incomparable
beauty and precision on her viola…