Madeleine bouissou, Cello
Selected as an English Concert American Fellow in 2019
Hailed for her “refined musicality and her clear, singing tone” (Danbury News Times), cellist Madeleine Bouissou has a vision to redefine the purpose of performing on classical instruments among her peers and pupils. From a young age, she displayed an unorthodox curiosity toward life—she was the kid who wore two different shoes just to be different. From the moment she picked up the cello, her hunger for answers was fed with expression through music.
Bouissou enrolled in Juilliard Pre-College at the age of fourteen and then continued at the Juilliard School, where she completed her bachelor’s degree. She quickly became an advocate for new music, as she found a constant sense of discovery, freedom from tradition, and responsibility to make new composers’ voices heard through new music. This passion led her to tour with Kate Simko’s London Electronic Orchestra in 2017.
When she found the baroque cello, Bouissou’s world changed as it did through new music. The combination of finding new technique with gut strings and focus on research to inform musical decisions gave her a renewed sense of purpose and inspired her to earn her master’s degree as a full scholarship student in historical performance at Juilliard, where she had the privilege of performing as a soloist with luminaries such as violinist Rachel Podger. Her two worlds of contemporary and historically informed performance came together when she was a featured soloist giving the world premiere performance of Varsha by Reena Esmail on baroque cello, part of the Seven Last Words Project at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, in 2019.
Her deepest passion is to approach canonic repertoire for classical instruments in a historically informed way with the goal to infuse freshness in this repertoire. In summer 2018 she was an apprentice at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Sonoma Valley, where she performed with cellist Tanya Tomkins and violinist Owen Dalby. She returned in 2019 to perform with violinist Rachel Barton Pine as a laureate of the festival. Her recent performance in Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet promoted the New York Concert Review to praise her “total involvement with the inner life of the lowest voice, [which] was a consistent pleasure.”
Bouissou grew up in a French restaurant with two chefs as parents. Raised with fine food and an intense work ethic, she values hard work and creative expression. She maintains an active career as a freelance cellist and teacher.