To be sure, his professional route is not banal. Right from the beginning. He was born in Geneva in 1962, the son of a swiss father and an Algerian-born French woman. He started life in Geneva. After the « baccalauréat », he became an apprentice and learnt how to be a cabinetmaker. He often travelled to Avignon, in the Vaucluse, to visit a cousin who was a stringed instrument maker. Retrospectively, it appears like an indiction of fate. And in Avignon he met a charming Young lady, Nicole, who was training tu be a bow maker. They went up to Paris for a few months. She studied to improve her art ; he attended a design school. Then he settled down in Vedène (in the Vaucluse) as a cabinetmaker ; for two decades he successfully designed contemporary furniture.

You might say : even though cabinetmaking is an art that requires attention to details and talent, it’s a far cry from stringed instrument making, even though his wife is a gifted bow-maker. You must know that Yves had been immersed in music since his childhood. From his father, an amateur guitar-player, he acquired a taste for music and from an early age, he played the concert flute and the sax. An amateur jazz musician, he started bands, but, amazingly, he has trouble with his bass-players who often dropped him. To make up for their desertion, he himself learnt how to play the bass ; his last bass-player was his mentor.

Yves started putting back together the eighteen parts of a bass he had been entrusted with. He took great pleasure in it. Then he had the desire to make one, from scratch. He had to learn the art of making stringed instruments. Thanks to his friend, the violinist Raphaël Oleg, he met the great instrument- maker from Lyons, Jacques Fustier. Fascinated by a most original seltee Yves had created, Fustier agreed to initiate him. They became friends. That was in 2002. Yves would tell you that, during the four years of his initiation, Jacques Fustier was more than a master for him. In his workshop in Lyons, Jacques taught him much more than his art.

First, Yves learnt how to make a violin in Lyons (since then, he has made three that sold very well) while in Barbentane he designed a bass from plans he found on the Internet and surveys made from a Jacquet. As such, he adjusts and repairs instruments, but what he really enjoys is creating instruments. In addition to his first three violins, Yves created four basses and two electric ones. As soon as June 2004, when he head completed his first bass, it was played on by Vincent Pasquier a soloist with the “Orchestre de Paris”, who liked it a lot, during a concert at the Méjan in Arles, when Laurent Korcia, Michel Portal and Jean-François Heisser gave a wonderful performance. A bass-player from the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Valérie Petite, was only too glad to « adopt » one of his doublebass. Steven Zlomke, first bass solo in the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, wrote recently about one of Yves’s instruments (a five-stringed bass) he had played : « the instrument, only a month old, proved to be soupple and powerful. It is malleable even in the forte with a range of different articulations and colour. I can recommend it as a first-rate instrument » (15 februar 2007).

Philippe Gut
English translation by Gisèle Weidenfeld

Vincent Pasquier, Michel Portal and Laurent Korcia (from right to left)