• Born 1970
Often appears with
Emmanuel Pahud is one of the most prolific and distinguished flutists active in contemporary France. His repertory is broad, stretching from the Baroque to contemporary music, including jazz.
Pahud was born in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 27, 1970. When he was four, he first heard the flute and immediately demanded to be taught how to play it. His family, which was not musical, traveled frequently for his father's work responsibilities, and he lived as a child in Baghdad, Paris, Madrid, and Rome. In the latter city, the family of flutist François Binet lived in the same apartment building as Pahud, and he began studies with 15-year-old Philippe Binet. Soon he graduated to studies with François Binet. At the family's next stop, in Brussels, he studied with Michel Moinil and Carlos Bruneel, playing a Mozart concerto with the National Orchestra of Belgium at 13. Pahud enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, winning several major prizes while he was a student, and after graduating, he soon landed principal flutist slots with the Basel Radio Symphony in Switzerland and the Munich Philharmonic. He continued his studies with Aurèle Nicolet, who had formerly been principal flutist with the Berlin Philharmonic, and coached him on how to approach his audition for that ensemble. The stratagem worked, and in 1992, Pahud was invited by conductor Claudio Abbado to join the orchestra as the principal flutist.
Pahud continued to play with the Philharmonic, sometimes taking a sabbatical or reducing his status to co-principal flutist as his solo responsibilities grew. He has played concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, among other top international groups. Pahud has been a longtime collaborator in chamber music with pianist Eric le Sage, but he has also performed with Hélène Grimaud, Yefim Bronfman, and many other players. A notable feature of his career is that he has succeeded as a jazz player, working with pianist Jacky Terrasson and performing in big bands.
Pahud has a large discography comprising some 50 releases. He has recorded for EMI Classics, Naïve, and since 2013, Warner Classics, as well as a variety of smaller labels. With Terrasson, he released the 2003 jazz album Into the Blue, and his classical recorded selections have ranged from little-known Baroque and Classical-era concertos to contemporary works. In 2020, Pahud appeared on the chamber music album Vienne 1900 on Alpha. In 2009, the French Ministry of Arts and Culture named him a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.