Born in Albania, Tedi Papavrami was introduced to the violin at age five by his father, a brilliant teacher with many years of pedagogical experience. Tedi progressed rapidly, and within three years he was performing at Sarasate’s Airs Bohémiens with the Tirana Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of eleven, he tackled Paganini’s Concerto No. 1 with the Emile Sauret’s fearsome and challenging cadenza.
In 1982, French flautist Alain Marion, who had come to give a concert in Tirana, heard the child prodigy play – and promptly arranged for him to come to Paris with a bursary from the French government. Tedi went on to study with Pierre Amoyal at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. Moreover, he appeared on popular television programs and gave many concerts at that time. Eventually reaching the end of his studies, Tedi went on perfecting his instrumental and musical independently. In the meantime, he and his parents had fled Communist-led Albania and settled permanently in France. Back home, however, the regime punished his family members who had stayed behind with severe sanctions and reprisals that would remain in force until the government finally fell in 1991. Before that event, however, Tedi and his parents had to leave Paris in order to avoid Albanian embassy officials, who continued to pursue them. Friends of the family helped them relocate near Bordeaux.
Tedi Papavrami won several important international prizes in the 1990s and embarked on a brilliant solo and chamber music career. He has collaborated as concerto soloist with conductors of the likes of Kurt Sanderling, Armin Jordan, Emmanuel Krivine, Manfred Honeck, François-Xavier Roth, Thierry Fischer, Gilbert Varga and M. Aeschenbacher. He was also a member of the Schumann Quartet (with piano) for nine years. He has performed in recitals and on disc with chamber music partners such as Philippe Bianconi, Nelson Goerner, Martha Argerich, Maria Joao Pires, Viktoria Mullova, Gary Hofmann, Marc Coppey, Paul Meyer and Lawrence Power.
In 2013, Tedi published an account of his own youth, Fugue pour violon seul, in French. Unanimously hailed by the press, the book recounts his trajectory as a child prodigy in Albania and Tedi during the filming of a television program, she did not hesitate to recruit him to play the role of Danceny, the violinist, alongside Catherine Deneuve, Rupert Everett and Nastassja Kinski in Josée Dayan’s TV mini-series adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’s Dangerous Liaisons. Such a wide range of activities and interests would probably not have been possible without an exceptional musical precocity, coupled with long hours of practice from a very early age.
Tedi has been recording since 1990. Released in 2014, his CD featuring the 6 solo violin sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe and the same composer’s sonata for two violins alongside his colleague Svetlin Roussev was simultaneously awarded two of the most outstanding French distinctions: the Diapason d’Or and the Choc de l’Année (Classica magazine).
What’s more, Tedi has also proven his hand as a transcriber: his solo violin arrangements of 12 Scarlatti sonatas and of the Bach Fantasy and Fugue BWV 542 (originally for organ) are available from the Ries Erler music publishing house in Berlin. He has frequently performed the complete J. S. Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin in public – a repertoire of which he is particularly fond and has recorded, along with the solo violin sonata of Béla Bartók, the 6 Ysaÿe solo violin sonatas and the 24 Paganini Caprices. For many years, Papavrami has been presenting the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with pianist François-Frédéric Guy: their recording was released in 2017. Tedi Papavrami was also featured in Martha Argerich, the renowned pianist’s new 2019 release entitled Rendez vous (Avanti Classics), he appears alongside her and cellist Misha Maisky in the Beethoven triple concerto.
Tedi Papavrami now lives in Geneva, Switzerland, where he is violin professor at the Haute École de Musique. He plays a violin made for him by violinmaker Christian Bayon.