Hailed as “musical genius” and “world-class musicians” (Orange County Register) with “extraordinary sensitivity and supernatural facility” (Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace), the Le Van Sisters are a performing duo whose musical interests embrace multiple instruments and musical styles, including classical, jazz, folk, world music, and musical theater. Versed in several instruments, they attempt to bring an awareness of music’s expressive capability to transcend style and place of origin.
Born in Colmar, Sarah and Solene Le Van moved to America and made their orchestral debuts with the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra and the Cypress Pops Orchestra at seven and five respectively, performing not only musical theater and folk songs, but classical violin concerti by Vivaldi. Since then, whether as soloists in both classical and jazz contexts, the Le Van Sisters have been invited to perform nationally and internationally, notably in the 26th International Jazz Festival in Munster (France), the Brunneby Concert Series (Sweden), the Encore Committee of the LA Philharmonic Concert Series, Steamers Jazz Club Series, the Curtis Theatre in Brea, California under the auspices of Resonance Records, and the International Vianden Festival in Luxembourg under the patronage of the US embassy, to name a few. Recently, they opened a concert featuring the Hagen Quartet at Richardson Auditorium. The Le Van sisters were featured in the French magazine Femme Actuelle as well as the Disney Channel, KDOC TV, ION television, FRANCE3, and more recently, on the Princeton Tonight show.
Sarah and Solène’s collaboration in exploring multiple genres arose out of their background, which consisted of the study of various musical forms. Classically trained under Metropolitan Opera singers, they won competitive admission into the “Princeton Experience” Royal College of Music Conservatory Program in London last year, where they studied voice and violin. As swing fiddle players and jazz vocalists, they have performed with jazz legends drummer/arranger Shep Shepherd, vibraphonist Michel Hausser, and violinist Bobby Bruce, and shared the stage with Manu Dibango.
Their performances in multiple genres have attracted the attention of several noted composers and arrangers, including Kuno Schmidt, Grammy-winning Bill Cunliffe, and Emmy-winning J.A.C. Redford, each of whom entrusted to her the world premieres of their works.
Both Sarah and Solène enjoy budding independent careers as well. A frequent prizewinner in competitions, Sarah Le Van is a laureate of the American String Teacher’s Association Competition and won the Blanche Nissim Concerto Competition and the Inland Theater League Award for “excellence in musical theater”. As a violinist, she recently participated in the Royal College of Music’s selective Chamber Music Series. Her sister Solène has won the David W. Scott Memorial Vocal Competition, the Henry LeRoy Violin Scholarship, the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented International Competition in New York, and the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Concerto Competition, to name a few. Solène has also made frequent orchestral appearances as a soloist, including with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra under the baton of Roger Kalia and the Princeton University Orchestra under the direction of Michael Pratt as a concerto competition winner, as well as with the Nassau Sinfonia conducted by John Butt as a soprano soloist in Handel’s “Messiah”. Her debut recording as a soprano with Sheva Collection, an internationally distributed label based in Italy, features world premieres by Reynaldo Hahn and Emile Paladilhe, including song cycles that have never been previously heard on CD.
The sisters currently study violin with Eric Wyrick at Princeton and have also taken lessons with Daniel Rowland. For voice, Sarah studies with Barbara Rearick and Solène with Martha Elliott. Solène also previously worked with Russell Smythe, as well as with Metropolitan Opera singers Kim Josephson and Cynthia Munzer and has also coached with Reed Woodhouse at Juilliard. Recently, she has begun working under the mentorship of Metropolitan Opera heldentenor Jon Fredric West. Both sisters have participated in the vocal masterclasses of Dame Emma Kirkby and Roger Vignoles; in the coming year, they will also be featured in Princeton University Opera’s production of “Orfeo” by Monteverdi directed by Tom Guthrie from the English National Opera as well as L’Avant Scène’s musical production of “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” with direction by Florent Masse and Damien Chazelle (director of the film “La La Land”).
To see more of their work, please visit their websites: www.sarahlevan.com & www.solenelevan.net .