Ronald Zollman, conductor. Music director of the Belgian National Orchestra from 1989 to 1993.
first time I heard Philippe as a violinist on the evening of Mai 1967, when he
stunned the audience of Palais des Beux-Arts in Brussels during the finals of
the Reine Elisabeth Competition. I was 17 at the time and I am sure I have never
heard anyone play the violin like that.
Philippe was much more than just a great violinist, it was someone with
incredible sensitivity, always there for his friends. More so, he had a rare
talent to hear what they wanted to say even before they spoke. I always thought
that he had the invisible detectors of people’s thoughts.
extreme sensitivity, that I have never noticed in any other musician, made of
him an interpreter hors pair, unique and very special. This outstanding quality
came out when he was listening to the voices of the composers that he played,
Mozat, Beethoven, Brahms, Berg, Lutoslawski or Gubaidulina. It is useless,
speaking of Philippe, to talk about the purety or the style of interpretation.
Philippe was the Music itself, he was beyond all this, he absorbed the works
and transmitted them in the spirit of truth. Just hear him play was a lesson of
style. At the best moments, everything became clear.
time, I talked to him about his natural sense of the form. I told him that he
had an incredible way of mixing the improvisation with very strict structure.
answer is a wonderful metaphore that I remember always: "We have to be like
architects that build a house with moble pillars. It’s impossible in
architecture, but in music?” And this is the way that Philippe played. As for
me, this is the image that I am looking for every day, it’s a guiding light
that enriches and leads me.