“one of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime” (Toronto Star)
“From the passionate opening declamation, the Canadian violinist was fully in sync with Saint-Saëns’ lyricism and Romantic flair. He surmounted the score’s acrobatic demands with ease, and his youthful showmanship never subsumed the larger musical narrative.” (Chicago Classical Review)
Described as “immaculate, at once refined and impassioned,” (ArtsAtlanta) violinist Blake Pouliot (pool-YACHT) has anchored himself among the ranks of classical phenoms. A tenacious young artist with a passion that enraptures his audience in every performance, Pouliot has established himself as “one of those special talents that comes along once in a lifetime” (Toronto Star).
Blake Pouliot’s 2023/24 symphonic highlights include Shostakovich 1, Bruch 1, Tchaikovsky, Korngold and Sibelius concerti across the US and Canada with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Roderick Cox, Artis-Naples and NAC Ottawa with Alexander Shelley, Quebec City Symphony and Clemens Schuldt, Aspen Festival amongst others.
In Europe this season, Pouliot makes his Spanish debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Spain at the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, performing the Tchaikovsky concerto with Rossen Milanov alongside which Pouliot will also play-direct Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons in a separate chamber programme.Read more
During his time as Soloist-in-Residence of Orchestre Métropolitain in 2020/21, Pouliot and Yannick Nézet-Séguin performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons which led to Pouliot’s 2022 debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Centre, performing John Corigliano’s The Red Violin (Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra) with Nézet-Séguin. Highlights elsewhere include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal in 2022/23, with Angela Hewitt and Bryan Cheng, as well as performances of the Paganini, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns concerti and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy in subscription series across North America.
As a chamber musician, this season Pouliot returns to NAC Chamber Festival and La Jolla Summerfest where he performed the festival-opening concert last year with conductor Alan Gilbert, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for his third consecutive year as Artist-in Residence. Previous recitals include the Koerner Hall Toronto, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the world premiere of Derrick Skye’s God of the Gaps for violin and electronics at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston.
Pouliot released his debut album of 20th century French music on Analekta Records in 2019. Featuring Ravel’s Tzigane and Violin Sonata in G, Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G minor and Beau Soir, the recording received critical acclaim including a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine and a 2019 Juno Award nomination for Best Classical Album.
Since his orchestral debut at age 11, Pouliot has performed with the orchestras of Aspen, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Madison, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, and Seattle, among many. Internationally, he has performed as soloist with the Sofia Philharmonic in Bulgaria, Orchestras of the Americas on its South American tour, and was the featured soloist for the first ever joint tour of the European Union Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He has collaborated with many musical luminaries including conductors Sir Neville Marriner, David Afkham, Pablo Heras-Casado, David Danzmayr, JoAnn Falletta, Marcelo Lehninger, Nicholas McGegan, Alexander Prior, Vasily Petrenko and Thomas Søndergård.
Pouliot has been featured twice on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series and has been NPR’s Performance Today Artist-in-Residence in Minnesota (2017/18), Hawaii (2018/19), and across Europe (2021/22). Prior to that, he won the Grand Prize at the 2016 Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition and was named First Laureate of both the 2018 and 2015 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
Pouliot performs on the 1729 Guarneri del Gesù on generous loan from an anonymous donor.
“The 29-year-old is one of the most expressive guest violinists to play with the Bangor orchestra in the past decade. He plays with his entire body — channeling the music from his toes up through his heart, down his arms and out through his deft fingers. […] Pouliot’s performance sets a high standard for future guest soloists.”
“Staggeringly sophisticated in his interpretation of French music, Pouliot showed in his Atlanta debut that the demands of the Sibelius Violin Concerto are well within his wheelhouse too. […] Pouliot played the opening of the first movement mezzo piano and without vibrato—a gauzy, barely audible thread of sound. His playing throughout was immaculate, at once refined and impassioned and characterized by the full use of his bow. Unreserved, he played the violin lovingly and with technical precision. Pouliot is also visually expressive in a distinctive way. When not playing it’s apparent that he’s listening, looking at the orchestra and responding almost as if he’s hearing their part for the first time.”
“Pouliot’s silvery tone carried weight even in the softest passages of the music [Ravel’s “Blues”], as he floated his melodies with the grace of a blues singer. […] Pouliot sculpted each phrase precisely to bring out the colors of Prutsman’s supple harmonies. In the finale, the duo tore through the driving figures with apt gypsy fire to bring the work to a rousing conclusion.”
“Pouliot puts the listener at ease and makes them receptive to what he has to say, executing the concerto with a superb sound and well-placed sweetness. Passing from admirable to overwhelming, there is even a little something in my ears that I can hardly define, a kind of brilliance, with sharp harmonics, and a singing strength in the upper register to equal that of the lower. ”