Princeton's Town Topics, March 9, 2016: Playing 20th and 21st Century Music, Princeton University Orchestra Presents Concerto Winners
"Solène Le Van has a huge resume of performing credits already, as both violinist and singer. Her artistic interests are broad, and her performance of “Glitter and Be Gay” from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in Friday night’s concert brought together her talents in singing, acting, and the ability to play a character with a seemingly split dramatic personality. (...) Ms. Le Van came to life immediately in “Glitter and Be Gay,” with a rich vocal tone in the more dramatic sections and a saucy coloratura in contrasting passages. The breath and diaphragmatic control required in the closing section were extremely demanding, and Ms. Le Van had no trouble maneuvering the syncopated rhythms with the orchestra."
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"Announcing the Winners of the 2015-16 Princeton University Orchestra Concerto Competition" - Princeton University News - Jan. 22, 2016
The Department of Music congratulates the winners of this year’s concerto competition: pianist Evan Chow ’16, violinist Jessie Chen ’16, soprano Solène Le Van ’18, and violinist Samantha Cody ’17. As part of their upcoming concerts on March 4 & 5, 2016 at 7:30PM in Richardson Auditorium, the Princeton University Orchestra (PUO) will feature (..) Ms. Le Van performing Leonard Bernstein’s Glitter and Be Gay from Candide.
Sophomore Solène Le Van also astounded the judges with music transcending traditional genres. Glitter and Be Gay from Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta Candide is both one of the most challenging coloratura soprano arias and a hilariously dramatic showstopper. Ms. Le Van reveals that “Glitter and Be Gay has been in my repertoire for many years and is one of my favorite pieces to perform, not only because I enjoy challenging myself technically, but also dramatically in embodying the manic and frivolous character of Cunegonde.” Having already performed lead roles in Princeton’s French Theater Company L'Avant Scène while studying voice with Martha Elliot at Princeton and with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Cynthia Munzer and baritone Kim Josephson, she excels at both aspects of performing this challenging work. Ms. Le Van intends to concentrate either in Music or French Departments, and to pursue certificates in Musical Performance and Italian. Born in Alsace, France she moved to the United States at the age of five and was accepted to Princeton University just ten years later."
"Jazz violin takes spotlight in Point Richmond concert series" - East Bay Times (San Francisco) - Sep. 21, 2015
"When it comes to jazz violin, Kit Eakle is on a mission. (...) As a presenter, he's showcasing some of the instrument's most accomplished practitioners, musicians representing a broad array of jazz idioms.
On Nov. 27, Eakle reaches down to Southern California when he presents the Bay Area debut of Solène Le Van, a 18-year-old French-born violinist who grew up in Orange County. Like many talent scouts, Eakle does a good deal of his sleuthing online, and he first encountered Le Van via a YouTube video "that was mind blowing," he says. "She's an amazing singer and violinist who switches from classical to jazz."
Le Van, who is in her junior year at Princeton University, hails from a talent-laden clan, and she started performing in her family's band at the age of 5. She spent her early years playing in the Gypsy jazz style created by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, but as she's pursued her own sound, it's evolved toward "cool jazz and third stream," she says, referring to the jazz/European classical music fusion associated with Gunther Schuller and John Lewis."
"The windows rattle in Brunneby when Solene Le Van vocalizes. She is only 17 but has a beautiful, limpid voice that is impressive in both size and strength.
- Papa, take it from the beginning again! - she calls and points to the score. Words her father, pianist Eric, hears again and again over the years.
- They all showed an interest in music early. I wanted to wait, but it was difficult. I clearly remember one occasion when Solene was three years old, she sat on our staircase and listened while I rehearsed for a concert. Tears rolled down her cheeks; she was so moved by what she heard, he says.
Solene made his first appearance with an orchestra when she was five. For her it was not strange, since she thought it was something all other children did as well."
Featured in article on event conducted by President Einsgruber: "In addition to the speakers, the gathering had quieter moments, too. Freshman Solene Le Van played a memorable and moving solo on the violin."
L'Alsace (French language newspaper) - May 9, 2013
Translation from original French (on Solène and her sister Sarah):
"Let us forget the cliches on their young age, their lauded virtuosity and their seasoned panache only to retain the radiant sunshine delivered by their violin playing. (...) In heaven, the audience had their heads in the clouds, finding Django himself under the cheerful and vivacious bowstrokes of the future Princeton students."
DNA (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) - May 7, 2013
"Michel Hausser, the legendary founder of the festival, was "in heaven" yesterday evening. He had just finished "an incredible rehearsal" with the young American violinists Solène and Sarah Le Van, 15 and 17 years old, who will share the stage with his trio this evening for the opening of the 26th iteration of the festival. "Those who will hear the this evening will be in for a shock", promises the vibraphonist with the enthusiasm of a young man. "They are magnificent, brilliant, urbane, and do their homework every night for Princeton University. But most of all, they sing and play with a supernatural facility...Ah, if only Papa Grappelli could have heard them play".'
The Orange County Register - Aug. 23, 2013
"Lauded for their astute interpretative abilities, composer and pianist Edward David Zeliff has entrusted Sarah and Solene with the premiere of his original works. "Sarah and Solene's ability to blend a clear understanding and phrasing of my music, far exceeds their ages," he said. "Their natural musicianship and inherent interpretation of each piece make them a joy to work with and easy to accompany."
Sarah, 17, and Solene, 15, have recently received full-four year scholarships to Princeton University where they will continue to pursue music and also study creative writing. The young duo begins classes this September.
"I have been interviewing for the past 18 years, and rarely have I come across candidates as uniquely talented, personable, mature and spirited as Sarah and Solene Le Van," stated Duncan Moffat, Princeton graduate Class of 1969, and applicant interviewer for the Alumni Schools Committee."
"Family captures audiences with musical talents" - The Orange County Register - June 14, 2010
The Le Van Family Musicians are musical genius. (...) Solene, 12, captivates and amazes audiences with their violin and vocal talent. (...) Combining humor and dramatic flair together [her] musical abilities, [she] received rave reviews from a recent appearance at Brea's Curtis Theater. (...) The family, which recently made a debut performance at Carnegie Hall, begins a whirlwind tour of that concert across the United States later this summer. The show features classical, folk, jazz and show music standards; audiences are captivated by their performances of Bartok's "Romanian Dances" and Paganini's "Caprices" for violin and piano — considered among the most difficult in the violin repertoire."
The Orange County Register - May 7, 2007
Featured on the front page:
"Sisters Solene, left, and Sarah Le Van of Anaheim finish their violin performance during the Israel Expo. More than 5,000 people turn out in Irvine to fete the Jewish state."
Yorba Linda Star / The Orange County Register - Feb. 3, 2005
"Last week's "America's Most Talented Kids" had a Yorba Linda performer. The musical variety show celebrates America's great love of spotting undiscovered talent. Solene Le Van, 7, performed on PAX-TV cable show last Sunday. Solene (...) is a classical music prodigy who regularly performs with her sister, Sarah, both as a singer and a violinist. In addition, Solene loves acting, sketching, reading [and] the opera."
Event News - July 16, 2004
"Cypress Pops Draws Capacity Crowd For Concert
Sarah, 8, and Solene, 6, scored a big hit and a standing ovations from the audience at Saturday's pops concert."
Star-Progress / Orange County Register - Sep. 22, 2005
"Sarah and Solene Le Van are accomplished violinists and singers; they are also bilingual and sing in both French and English. They were guest artists with the Cypress Pops Symphony this summer and (...) they will also soon perform as soloists with the Celeste Guild of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra."
Leisure World News / The Orange Country Register - Jan. 29, 2005
"Only about 250 residents were lucky enough to go out in the rain on Monday night and witness one of the most professionally entertaining shows ever to grace the stage of Clubhouse 3. The stars were the Le Van Sisters, Solene and Sarah, ages 7 and 9. These two are not advanced children with promising futures, but already two consummate pros. Precocious is an understatement. They sang in English and French and played their violins with virtuosity."
DNA (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) Dec. 14, 2002
Translation from original French:
Veritable little prodigies, 7-year-old Sarah and 5-year-old Solène sing, play the violin and the piano, dance classical ballet and tap, and also paint. (...) From the first notes, the two girls intone "Gary Indiana" in perfect harmony. The intonation, the musicality, the expression, the charisma -- they already possess all this and more."
DNA (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) - March 26, 2003
"7-year-old Sarah and 5-year-old Solène are the daughters of Eric Le Van, American classical pianist, based for many years in the Munster Valley, and artistic director of the International Franz Liszt Festival. (...) Passionate devotees of opera (...) and musicians by familial atavism, they play the violin and the piano, dance and excell in tap -the shortest path to perhaps becoming the equals of Judy Garland or Gene Kelly in the future. In their show, they present an eclectic program representing the range of their savoir-faire, with excerpts from American and French musicals and the chansonnier repertoire, as well as some lesser-known "jewels". (...) They were accompanied by bassist Michael Pohlmann (of the Basel Festival Orchestra), drummer Franck Bockius and guitarist Noel Barraux."
L'Alsace -- January 2002
Translation from original French:
"...interpretations of American musical theater by the daughters of Eric Le Van, the artistic director of the piano festival of Munster. Solène, 4 years old (...) dressed all in red, dazzled the audience with [her] confident delivery."
Femme Actuelle - Sep. 2-8, 2002
Featured at 4 years old in leading French women's magazine.
"Little Girls, Big Talent" - The Event Newspaper - July 23, 2004
"If you were in the audience at the Cypress Pop's recent concert, you got a taste of the extraordinary talents of Sarah and Solene Le Van. Both girls are already accomplished singers and violinists. They were born in France and they live in the area, where they are fast becoming a muhc sought after act. (...) They come by their talent naturally. Their father Eric Le Van is an accomplished pianist himself and the girls have studied with him as well as with noted violinists Michaela Paetsch and Daniel Shindarov. (...) Solene is 6 years old and began studying the violin at age 4 with her father. She also studies piano and sings in both English and French. She debuted in musical theater at age 4 (...) with the Saddleback Civic Light Opera. She won first place in the Youth Cultural Art Foundation Talent Show. (...) Both girls love opera, drawing and painting, writing plays and poems, reading classics and learning poetry, as well as playing with their little brother. Their names are bound to be up in lights one day. They are already stars."