Solène Le Van

Lyric Soprano -- Violinist -- Multi-Style Performer -- Writer

Hailed as a "vocal phenomenon (...) with a limpid voice of impressive strength and sensitivity" (Östgöta Correspondenten) and an instrumentalist with "supernatural facility"  (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace), 21-year-old soprano and violinist Solène Le Van is already regarded as an exceptionally versatile and sensitive musician.

Born in Colmar, France, to an American father and a French mother, Ms. Le Van moved to America at the age of five, where she made her orchestral debut with the Cypress Pops Orchestra. She has been invited to perform nationally and internationally, notably in the Brunneby Concert Series (Sweden), the Committee of the LA Philharmonic Concert Series, Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), Steinway Hall (New York), and the International Vianden Festival in Luxembourg under the patronage of the US embassy. She recorded her debut recording soon to be released with Sheva Collection, an internationally distributed label based in Italy, featuring world premieres by Reynaldo Hahn and Emile Paladilhe, with poetry by Theophile Gautier, Victor Hugo, and Paul Verlaine. The program includes two songs cycles by Paladilhe that have never been previously heard on CD and was recorded in the internationally renowned Mechanics Hall in Massachusetts.

A frequent prizewinner in competitions, Ms. Le Van won the David W. Scott Memorial Vocal Competition (both 1st Place and Audience Favorite Awards), the Davis Weiss Violin Scholarship, the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented International Competition in New York (Gold Medalist), and the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Concerto Competition. She performed with the Princeton University Orchestra as a soloist in Handel’s “Dixit Dominus” and as a two-time concerto competition winner, not only in Bernstein's "Glitter and be Gay" but also most recently in Samuel Barber's "Knoxville Summer of 1915". Other appearances with orchestra include a performance with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in a program of world premieres under the baton of Roger Kalia, a concert staging of Bernstein's "West Side Story" with RCM Big Band as Maria, and the 1741 Dublin version of Handel's "Messiah" with the Nassau Sinfonia at the American Handel Society with conductor John Butt. Recent roles include Mabel in "The Pirates of Penzance" and "La Musica" in "L’Orfeo" under the direction of English National Opera director Tom Guthrie.

Ms. Le Van has studied with Metropolitan Opera singers Cynthia Munzer, Kim Josephson, and Jon Fredric West, and received coaching from Metropolitan Opera soprano Carole Farley and Reed Woodhouse at the Juilliard School and sung in masterclasses taught by Dame Emma Kirkby and Roger Vignoles. In 2016, she attended the Royal College of Music, where she was the recipient of first class honors for dual study in voice with Russell Smythe and violin with Daniel Rowland. She has also studied music theory with Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University, as well as at the Education For Gifted Youth Program at Stanford University. At fifteen, she was accepted into Princeton with a concentration in French and certificates in Vocal Performance, Italian, and Musical Theater.

Ms. Le Van’s musical interests and abilities embrace several musical genres, including jazz, musical theater, and folk. This year, she was a standby on Broadway for the operatic lead in  "Rocktopia". As a recipient of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy France in Campus Award sponsored by NAFSA (Association of International Educators) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), she provided musical direction and starred in the American stage premiere of Jacques Demy's "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" for the Lewis Center of the Arts. A swing fiddle player and a jazz vocalist, she has performed at such venues as the 26th International Jazz Festival in Munster (France), the Point Richmond Jazz Festival in San Francisco, Steamers Jazz Club Series, and the Curtis Theatre in Brea, California under the patronage of Resonance Records, to name a few. She has also frequently collaborated with vibraphonist Michel Hausser, pianist Llew Matthews, bassist Bruce Lett, drummer Matt Gordy, trombonist Jacques Voyemant, pianists Michael Le Van and Ron Kobayashi, drummer Mourad Benhammou, as well as jazz veterans Shep Shepherd, drummer and arranger, and violinist Bobby Bruce, among others. She has also shared the stage with Manu Dibango and the Count Basie Orchestra and frequently performs with big band ensembles. Her performances in multiple genres have attracted the attention of several noted composers and arrangers, including Kuno Schmidt, Grammy-winning Bill Cunliffe, Emmy-winning J.A.C. Redford, and Michel Hausser, each of whom entrusted to her the world premieres of their works. As a member of the Le Van Family Musicians since the age of five, she not only performs as a singer and violinist, but also as a pianist, mandolinist, and guitarist.

Ms. Le Van's creative endeavors encompass other activities besides music. As an actress, she was awarded the Inland Theater League Award for “excellence in musical theater”, attended classes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique in Paris with Sandy Ouvrier and Caroline Marcadé, and performed in masterclasses under the direction of Cesar-winners such as Pierre Niney. As a dancer, she was a member of the Nouveau Chamber Ballet company for many years under the artistic direction of former New York Ballet member and choreographer Lois Ellyn. 

Ms. Le Van has a passion for French literature. She writes her own poetry in French and English, is fluent in English, French, and Italian, and is keenly interested in art history, European, and religious history. In her spare time, Solene takes great pleasure in spending time or making music with her family, watching classic films and musicals, cooking ethnic cuisine, writing and memorizing poetry or reading works by her favorite novelists, poets, and philosophers (Rimbaud, Flaubert, Mandelstam, Proust, Tolstoy, John Keats, HG Wells, Vladimir Nabokov). She accepts a few students in her private teaching studio in Orange County, California.




Cover Image:

Photographer: Chris Allport

Orchestra: Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra

Background Image:

Photographer: Gérard Demonchy

Musicians: Solène Le Van, Michel Hausser, Mourad Benhammou

Festival: 26th International Jazz Festival, Munster, France