Critiques Serge Bertocchi


CONCERT: beyond the saxophone

On the occasion of the third "Brèves de scene" of the season, the cultural service of the city of Langres proposed to focus on a too rare instrument : the Tubax.
Almost a hundred of persons met on Friday evening in the Theater of Langres to attend "Extreme Saxophone", a solo performance expressly conceived for the Tubax by Serge Bertocchi.
"The tubax is a very young instrument, it is a contrabass saxophone with avery low and dark register. I specify that the model Serge plays is unique in France !" Explained Marie-Hélène Fournier, who composed one of the pieces he premiered.

So, it is at the tempo of these unusual and melancholic deep sounds that the public travelled through the four played pieces, among which two were world premieres  by Marie-Hélène Fournier and Kasper Toeplitz.
The lowest of the seven members of the family of instruments imagined by Adolphe Sax thus expressed itself fully in a contemporary register, and also improvisations by the interpreter.
A quality end note for this first cycle of "Brèves de scene "
We are now waiting for such beautiful discoveries in the next concert season.

Hélène Darbot,

Journal de la Haute-Marne, 20/04/02


The sax in the "Espace Jean Blanc"

Saxophone and music will be under the lights this weekend in the space Jean Blanc in La Ravoire. The event proposed by the Association Dance and Music in Savoy (ADMS) with two educational goals and one instrument : the saxophone and Serge Bertocchi. The famous saxophonist either soloist, chamber-music player or improviser will be in Savoy to allow the teachers of the music schools of the department to approach or to deepen their knowledge of the contemporary repertory of the saxophone.

A special attention will be given to the discovery of an educational repertory allowing to approach this music style as soon as  the first years of instrumental apprenticeship.
The music schools' saxophonists, both professors and the students, and Savoy's wind bands will work together (the word is weak) on the themes of improvisation, and on the chosen repertory, prepared upstream by the professors. This day is a pinpoint in a will to relaunch the departmental saxophone ensemble.

The students and the professors were lucky enough to share these moments of work and conviviality with Serge Bertocchi, a native of our region, which received unanimously  the 1st Prize of saxophone and chamber music in the Conservatoire de Paris. He teaches in Amiens since 1985 and he specialized in the pedagogy of contemporary music. His teaching activity is punctuated by concerts all over the world, which delight all kinds od audiences, expert as well as greenhorns.
La Ravoire had the immense honor to listen to, and to appreciate for one evening concert, Serge and his saxophone !

Le Dauphiné Libéré, 13/10/2002

MUSIC: Make the stones sing

CollaVoce : official Launching yesterday evening of the 3rd Voice and Organ Festival of Poitiers.

The cultural event of this late summer in Poitiers, the Colla Voce festival, began officially yesterday evening. An opportunity for the organizers to underline their interest in this event, which proposes to bring together architectural patrimony and music.

Inauguration in music for Colla Voce, with a surprising, instrument created three years ago only : the Serge Bertocchi's contrabass saxophone surprised and moved the officials and guests of the City hall yesterday evening. The lowest instrument of the family of saxophones, it placed instantly the festival under the sign of the innovation. Elisabeth Morin, representing the Region, underlined the importance of the "double concern of Colla Voce towards tradition and boldness",  a good herald according to her of a long-term anchoring of this event.  […]

Centre Presse, Saturday 24/08/2002


Serge Bertocchi, saxophone virtuoso and professor will give a masterclass in Aulnat, and will give two concerts […] Philippe Caillot has very high expectation by inviting the best musicians for his masterclasses. It is the case on Sunday, June 18th, with Serge Bertocchi. He also livens leads the scene(stage) of “Forcément contemporain” the day before(watch) at 6:30 pm in the Conservatory's auditorium Emmanuel Chabrier. With Ars Gallica, which is also his child, he will interpret among others "G' Baya", one of his own compositions.

At the end of the class of masterclass, a second concert will be given on Sunday at 6 pm […] Serge Bertocchi will appear as a soloist there. A recital enhanced by the presence of the composer Jacques Lejeune. The musician will give “Fragments gourmands” inspired by texts by Brillat-Savarin. Another way for the public to savor the bulimic virtuosity of Bertocchi, who will in this circumstance play 7 saxophones, successively or in biphonie, from sopranino to  contrabass […] The contagion “Forcément contemporain” gains ground ! Especially when the context is favorable to discovery and opening, as in Aulnat.

R.D. La Montagne  16 juin 2000

Serge Bertocchi' practical pedagogy

As a final point to his Masterclass, the saxophonist Serge Bertocchi gave a "lecture" of contemporary music, on Sunday, in the gymnasium Pierre-Ducourtial of Aulnat.

Nothing surpasses practical pedagogy ! The saxophone master, Serge Bertocchi, demonstrated this on Sunday late afternoon, giving a concert of contemporary music in front of "his" aulnatese students. A wager when we know the reputation of inaccessibility of this type of expression, which still drives some music lovers to run away ! With Philippe Caillot, saxophone professor, and Jean-Luc Brouillon, school director for active accomplices, Serge Bertocchi had invited Jacques Lejeune, of whom he interpreted "Greedy fragments", a page the composer wrote in homage to Brillat-Savarin. The "Paganini of the saxophone", as we nickname him, also premiered  Marie-Hélène Fournier's work "The charcoal flees the eraser", before demonstrating all his versatility on pieces  by Giacinto Scelsi and François-Bernard Mâche. Bertocchi all the more virtuoso as he blew seven saxophones, from the sopranino to the contrabass this last tessitura turning out the most singular because it seemed as fluent as medium or treble saxes. Did Serge Bertocchi's class convince all the students ? In any case, his "ilIustration and defense" of the contemporary language was bold and brilliant.

La Montagne 19 juin 2000


(Saxophones En Duo)

Serge Bertocchi Jean-Michel Goury

Recorded saxophone duos are relatively rare, and to find a duo like Serge Bertocchi and Jean-Michel Goury is even rarer. This is an intense duo that can and does function as a full concert entity in itself. Their sound can easily fill a concert hall and their intensity is extremely moving at the very least. In this century the scope and color of the saxophone has changed and drastically enlarged. Techniques that did not exist for the instrument fifty years ago are now commonplace. With giants such as Sigurd Rascher and Marcel Mule setting the pace and setting the course, the successive generations have expanded and developed the original precepts. The saxophone has become a multi-lingual, multi-cultural tool  for the artistic development of music. Jean-Michel Goury and Serge Bertocchi show with ease their artistic mastery of the saxophone with all of its diverse developments. You will become enmeshed in the grammar of contemporary music for the saxophone and amazed at how much music just two people can create. The artists present a world of unusual colors for the saxophone refined to the n'th degree and performed flawlessly. The duo has avoided keeping its penchant for contemporary classical music and the saxophone in an ivory tower but has thrust both, as much as possible, into the public's ears and, hopefully, a well deserved position on center stage. One half of the Duo is Jean-Michel Goury. His music studies were pursued in Bordeaux's Conservatory with Jean Marie Londeix where he attained three gold medals. He has done three workshops with Daniel Kientzy at the IRCAM. He received the Young Soloists' Prize in Aixles-Bains. Jean-Michel Goury is currently a teacher in Boulogne-Billancourt's Conservatory. He has performed as a soloist throughout the world. The other half, Serge, is equally impressive in credentials. He has worked with such personalities as Deffayet, Seffer, Drouet, Kientzy, Sylvestre, and Jeanneau. Serge Bertocchi  won the first prize at the Paris CNSM. He has won many prizes throughout Europe. He has been a teacher at the Amiens Conservatory since 1985. He has appeared throughout Europe as a soloist and has worked also in the theater and jazz idioms. Once you slip the CD into your machine none of this rhetoric will matter, your ears will do the talking. This ensemble is one phenomenal Duo. Truly, you have to hear this CD for yourself before you will believe the rest of the article. This "Duo" of Bertocchi and Goury is phenomenal, incredible, and whatever superlatives you can come up with, and this is just for the craftsmanship. The artistry and musicality is even better. The sense of ensemble is unbelievable; the two must have one mind. Combine the difficulty with the complexity of their repertoire and it is breath taking. The hours it must have taken to work this material to a performance level is inconceivable. Both of these artists are complete masters of the horn. From quarter tones to micro tones, from altissimo to multiphonics, this has got it and they make it sound disgustingly easy. Everything they do sounds extremely fluent no matter what the real difficulty might be. This is the hallmark of the real artist. The struggle is only for interpretation and understanding; everything else is afore drawn conclusion. There is a poetic intensity to each of the selections that is extremely moving and provocative. The opening selection is ADRIA (1986) by Christian Lauba. This piece sparkles in the light with almost a blinding glare at times. The artistry of the performers is absolutely breath taking. You have to hear it to believe it. Get used to this phrase, it will be used frequently in this column. This duo exhibits a gargantuan amount of control in the creations of these pertinent sound images. The second selection, Dialodia, by Bruno Maderna, is quite different in mood, but no less challenging. The duo switches from two altos to two sopranos with no change in the superb quality of performance. In fact the duo manages to cover all of the saxophones in the course of this CD. Each of the saxophones is played superbly with all of the attributes that are peculiar to each of the respective horns. The CD's program is organized in such away that each selection leads us to the next with a strong sense of continuity throughout the complete CD. The other composers on the recording are: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Etienne Rolin, Ryo Noda, Marius Constant, Marie-Helene Fournier, and Francois Rosse. The duo of Goury and Bertocchi is an amazing duo who are world class performers of the first order. If you ever wondered how musical some of the modern effects can be for the saxophone then this will answer all. The duo brings all of  the concepts into a performance reality that forces the listener to say, "I can't imagine it being done any other way." So to Jean-Michel Goury and Serge Bertocchi all that can be said is "fantastic." This CD is a must for all music lovers and especially for saxophonists. It is the bible of the contemporary saxophone.

          Paul Wagner & Joe Viola CD review in SAXOPHONE JOURNAL p 78

Tempest of bravos for “Le Marin”

The Amadeus Festival opened with a contemporary opera by Xavier Dayer. A triumph.

CLASSICAL : the organizers of Amadeus were afraid of confusing the public. It was an error ! Art would be impossible without real risk-taking. The organizers of 7th edition of the Festival Amadeus, especially their art director, had this in mind. Boldness was needed to rely on a young composer to start a festival with the premiere of his opera. But when at the end of the course the public of the Grange de la Touvière

demonstrated his enthusiasm as he did on Wednesday for the opening night, we told ourselves that not only this bet had to be kept, but what's more, it had been easily won.
Xavier Dayer elaborated the eight scenes of his "chamber opera" from Fernando Pessoa's "static drama"  The sailor. [...]
Three soloists stand on an inclined plane. On right, 15 musicians of the Festival Amadeus' Orchestra directed by Laurent Gay who lives intensely every note and every word. Plus three excellent solo instrumentalists - real "doublings" of the three night watches - Daniel Haeffliger on cello, René Meyer on bass clarinet and Serge Bertocchi on alto saxophone.

Daniel Robellaz, La Tribune de Genève,  

p1 et 3 Vendredi 3/9/99

Ce samedi, salle Saint Nicolas de Valenciennes : le Sinfonietta.

“Avant-dernier rendez-vous des “automnales de la VAG, celui fixé par l’Orchestre Régional de Picardie, appelé également le Sinfonietta. […]

Deux solistes, Dominique Barbier au violon et Serge Bertocchi au saxophone, montreront leurs talents”

La voix du Nord, 20 /11/ 1992


Serge Bertocchi , from Albertville wins the national saxophone competition in
Aix-les-Bains - This 5th national saxophone competition organized by the Aix-les-Bains - Lac du Bourget festival of music and the association of the saxophonists of France gathered during two days about forty instrumentalists coming from all the regions of France.
It was pleasant for us to notice that the winner is coming from Savoy, a native of the region of Albertville and at present student at the Superior National Conservatory of Music of Paris in the class of Mr Deffayet. We send him all our congratulations.

Le Dauphiné Libéré  1982

Two saxophonists from Grenoble retained for the final round of the national competition for saxophone of Aix les Bains.
Serge Bertocchi and Hervé Saillard, both students of Mr Jacques Net, professor in the Grenoble Conservatory, will compete for the finale of the 4th national competition in Aix les Bains.
Forty two candidates coming from all regions of France, even the Paris Conservatory, appeared at the first test which was eliminating round. Only six candidates were selected to compete for the final round on Friday, July 11th, 1980. Among them, Serge Bertocchi (18) and Hervé Saillard (17), both gold medal of saxophone of the Grenoble Conservatory.


Le Dauphiné Libéré  1980

Sinfonietta : Hommage to Darius Milhaud

Emotion, a lively emotion, a deep and great emotion on Monday evening for the second concert of the season 92-93 of the Sinfonietta in Amiens.
The regional orchestra of Picardy commemorated Darius Milhaud's hundredth anniversary, this " French of Provence, of Jewish religion ", as he defined himself. Alain Voirpy conducting. Since September 1991, he is also director of the National Conservatory of Region of Amiens. By his side, two soloists, professors in the Conservatory themselves : Serge Bertocchi and Dominique Barbier.

On the program, "The Ox on the roof", "Saudades do Brazil", "Scaramouche" and the Opus 436  "Music for San Francisco". In the auditorium of the Parc des Expositions of Amiens, among the important public, a small lady did not go unnoticed and she was given an ovation: Mrs Milhaud, the wife of this very famous composer.

      Jacques Goffinon, Le Courrier Picard p12,  25-11-92

Le World Saxophone Quartet en action

David Murray, from Grenoble to Banlieues bleues

(...) In the meantime, in the music schools of Saint-Denis and Bagnolet, hard work. It is not only a question of playing good music, and all together an already considerable challenge Here, it is also necessary to make all this while walking ! " In France, we don't have a culture of the marching band, calls back Serge Bertocchi, musician and teacher. The educational interest of this work with the WSQ, is the possibility of meeting the music "while" we make it, rather  than spending time on a score and reading codes. Things take place essentially by playing them.

Murray addresses the trainees : "now, resume the same bars, while walking." With them, he moves forward, showing them how the pace takes place, with the decisive role of the left foot anchored in the ground.