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Franco-Dutch violist Sào Soulez Larivière is quickly building himself a thriving career as a versatile musician. Captivating audiences with his playing and original programming, he endeavours to broaden the accessibility and perception of classical music in our modern world.
A string of recent competition successes have propelled his international career, receiving first prize at the Prague Spring International Competition, as well as a top prizes at the Tokyo, Oskar Nedbal, Max Rostal, Cecil Aronowitz and Johannes Brahms competitions.
Chamber music has always been at the heart of Sào’s musical upbringing, sharing his love for music with his sister, violinist Cosima Soulez Larivière, with whom he still frequently performs. He is also a member of the Frielinghaus Ensemble, which recently released an acclaimed album, featuring string sextets by Dvořák and Tchaikovsky. An advocate for expanding the horizons of the viola repertoire, he enjoys arranging works for his instrument, as well as promoting contemporary music. Working with accomplished composers has offered him an unparalleled opportunity to delve deeper into the creative side of music.
Born in Paris in 1998, Sào originally started playing the violin and at a young age received a scholarship to study with Natasha Boyarsky at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. Having discovered the viola whilst playing chamber and orchestral music there, he decided to devote himself fully to the instrument towards the end of his school years. Furthermore, his musical development has been deeply enriched by working with many esteemed musicians such as Jean Sulem, Nobuko Imai, Antoine Tamestit, Boris Garlitsky, and Steven Isserlis.
Sào is based in Berlin, where he obtained a Bachelor of Music with Tabea Zimmermann at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’. He is currently enrolled in the Professional Studies programme at the Kronberg Academy, where he also earned his Master’s Degree.
Teaching has become a great passion in Sào’s musical life, and he is thrilled to have been appointed professor of viola at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg from Autumn 2023.
In 2019, Sào was awarded the ‘Ritter Preis’ on behalf of the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation. In the following year he received the Fanny Mendelssohn Förderpreis, which enabled him to release his debut album ‘Impression’ in 2021. Most recently, he was presented with the 2023 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) ‘Young Artist of the Year’ Award.
He has been nominated as a European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) ‘Rising Star’, which will see him perform in Europe’s most prominent concert halls in the 2024/25 season.
He is a scholarship holder of the Yehudi Menuhin ‘Live Music Now’ e.V. Berlin, and has generously been supported by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Villa Musica Rheinland-Pfalz Foundation.
Sào plays on an instrument made by Fréderic Chaudière in 2013.

Sào Soulez