Esteemed French filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon visits Estonia and Arvo Pärt Centre


This weekend, Estonia welcomes the legendary French filmmaker and writer Bruno Monsaingeon, creator of approximately a hundred music films. His visit centres on attending the Estonian premiere of his newly completed music documentary, Klaus Mäkelä: Towards the Flame, on 28 April at the Arvo Pärt Centre.

“Bruno Monsaingeon’s contribution to documenting the great musical figures of the 20th century is invaluable. Frankly, he is unmatched in this field,” remarks Heidi Pruuli, an expert on his works and a connoisseur of music films.

Recently honoured with a special prize from the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA), Monsaingeon has captured an extensive repertoire of top performers on film with his rare instinct and thoroughness. His subjects have included icons such as Glenn Gould, Yehudi Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Grigori Sokolov, as well as younger-generation musicians like Piotr Anderszewski, Valeriy Sokolov, the Arod Quartet and Klaus Mäkelä.

Monsaingeon has paid particular attention to Russian-born musicians who clashed with their Soviet roots, as depicted in his multi-award-winning The Red Baton: Scenes from Musical Life in Stalinist Russia. About a dozen of Monsaingeon’s films have been brought to Estonian audiences by ETV.

Bruno Monsaingeon claims to “paint music with the camera”. “His films’ visual language is exquisitely sensitive, delicate and driven by the logic of musical flow. Working as both cinematographer and interviewer, he has a clear vision of his concept and the desired outcome,” says Pruuli.

A violinist himself, familiar with both string and piano repertoires, Monsaingeon invariably focuses his films on performers, whose mission is to keep the created works alive and bring them to people. His working style is characterised by meticulous thoroughness, capturing music performances that evolve into concert films and eventually documentaries, often culminating in a book based on interviews. The preparations for some of his films span nearly two decades.

Monsaingeon’s latest film, featuring the young Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä, will premiere at the Arvo Pärt Centre on 28 April at 5pm. This somewhat exceptional film depicts a serendipitous collaboration between creators from entirely different generations, who began working together even before securing funding. Mäkelä’s enthusiasm, vibrant energy, ability to listen to musicians and allow them creative freedom, coupled with his kindness and empathy, captivated the filmmaker, who immediately recognised him as one of the most prominent conductors of the 21st century. Mäkelä’s meteoric career is testament to that.

We thank the French Institute for their support!





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