Emile Cantor

Emile Cantor - violist

Born in 1955 in Apeldoorn (Netherlands) Emile started playing violin at the age of 4. His teachers were Qui van Woerdekom, Henk Knol and Jaap Schroeder. At 14 he started to play the viola, fascinated by its tonal beauty. From 1973 to 1975 he studied at the National Conservatory of Paris as a student of Professor Serge Collot, who has influenced him the most, and obtained Premier Prix nommé (1975).


Emile Cantor has been viola-soloist in the Netherland Chamber Orchestra of Amsterdam (under Szymon Goldberg and David Zinman), in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Copenhagen,  the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (under Michel Plasson) and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. 


In 1987, while he was a member of the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Emile founded the Orpheus Quartet together with C.A.Linale, E.Piedicuta and L.Sbarcea.  The quartet won first prizes in the international competitions of Rome, Munich and Osaka and is still one of the leading string quartets in Europe despite the untimely death of C.A.Linale in 2003.  The Orpheus Quartet’s numerous recordings have been widely celebrated and awarded, including a Diapason d’Or in 1994 for their disc of the Schubert Quintet in C major with Pieter Wispelwey. The quartet also devotes much time to teaching, and gives regular masterclasses at the Liceo in Barcelona, Musikene in San Sebastian, the Savonlinna Academy in Finland.  It has also been in residence at the Curs Internacional de Musica de Cervera for more than a decade.  


Emile Cantor has premiered more than 15 different works for viola solo with various ensembles and has been a member of international juries in the Concours Maurice Vieux, the Walter Witte Wettbewerb, the Max Rostal competition, the International ARD Competition for viola in Munich, as well as the London String Quartet competition and Jugend Musiziert for chamber music.  Together with the Belgian pianist Philippe Terseleer, Emile founded Correspondances, a cycle of concerts that intend to demonstrate the relationship between art, poetry and music.

An internationally reputed teacher, Emile has taught in the Trossingen and Aachen Hochschules since 1986 and has been professor for viola at the University of Mainz 1992-1999 and at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen since 1999. He is also an associated professor at the Conservatori del Liceo in Barcelona (since 2002) and currently teaches at the Royal Academy of Aarhus. In addition, Emile Cantor has been a coach in the German national youth orchestra (BJO) since 1988 and teaches regularly at summer courses in Germany, Finland, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden.


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