Former students of the Yehudi Menuhin school create ‘Corinne’s Song’ in memory of violinist Corinne Chapelle


Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s moving new work, performed by 50 renowned musicians, is unveiled

A large group of former students of Yehudi Menuhin School performed and recorded Corinne’s song, original music for string orchestra, in memory of his comrade Corinne Chapelle. Composed by Cheryl Frances Hoad (who originally trained as a cellist and pianist at the Menuhin School), the project was part of a fundraising effort launched in February to raise the £30,000 needed to treat the rare and aggressive form of cancer of the violinist Chapelle. It was nearing its end and crowdfunding donations were already pouring in when the tragic news broke that Chappelle died in March, aged just 44 and before she had reached the end of her treatment. Nevertheless, more than 50 alumni – including Corina Belcea, Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova – decided to finish the song as a tribute to their friend.

The Grammy-nominated French-American violinist began her violin studies at the age of two. When Yehudi Menuhin heard her play at 15, he called her “one of the most promising talents of her generation”. Twelve months later, she studied with him for two years at the Menuhin School in England, after which she moved to New York to study at Juilliard with Pinchas Zukerman. She then studied at the Hoschule für Musik München and then privately with Josef Gingold.

Chapelle’s career has seen her win various awards at international violin competitions; she also won an Echo Klassik and a Diapason d’Or. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra; in addition, she premiered the Barber Violin Concerto in China and performed at major festivals around the world, including Salzburg, Aspen and Prussia Cove. She has collaborated with artists such as Fabio Biondi, Ádám Fischer and Alban Gerhardt, as well as with the Swiss Chamber Soloists. Chapelle appears on numerous film soundtrack recordings, including Paddington and Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society; his chamber music recording Cerha with the aforementioned Swiss Chamber Soloists for Claves was well received in Gramophone‘s pages (9/18): ‘The 10-member Swiss Traveling Chamber Musicians play beautifully throughout, with pinpoint accuracy of ensemble and intonation.’

Corinne’s song is presented by YMS alumni “in loving memory of an extraordinary violinist and a human being who will be forever missed”. She leaves behind her partner, cellist David Cohen, and their six-year-old daughter, Leila. If anyone would like to contribute to Leila’s education, please email [email protected]

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