Jean-Paul Minali-Bella
Jean-Paul Minali-Bella

The viola player Jean-Paul Minali-Bella trained at the Paris Conservatory with Serge Collot
and Bruno Pasquier. In parallel, he studied chamber music with Jean Mouillère in Paris, in
New York with Walter Trampler and at Yale with Jesse Levine and the members of the Tokyo Quartet.
A laureate of the Lavoisier Bursary, he subsequently embarked on a career as soloist and chamber musician. In 1993 he was appointed Principal Viola in the Orchestre National de France and was a member of the Arpeggione Quartet between 1995 and 1999. He regularly performs with chamber ensembles and as a soloist in major concert halls.

Obtaining a CA teaching degree in 1999, Jean-Paul Minali-Bella teaches chamber
music at the Bordeaux National Conservatory. A committed musician, he devotes himself to many masterclasses, like in Indonesia where he set up the first chamber music seminar for
Indonesians and took part in the premieres of several contemporary pieces. He also founded the Jakarta Philharmonia and the Surabaya Symphonic Orchestra.

From his encounter with the instrument-maker Bernard Sabatier in 1996 was born a new instrument baptised the “Arpegina” on which he has recorded Bach three suites for the label Long distance, and Britten Lachrymae and Two portraits for Fuga Libera (Harmonia Mundi)

The Arpegina

As imagined by the viola player Jean-Paul Minali-Bella, the arpegina was designed, as a unique piece, by the instrument-maker Bernard Sabatier. A new-born in the string family, the Arpegina is a kind of ‘large viola’, dissymmetrical in form and with a hybrid tone-colour related to that of the cello, the viola da gamba and the viola, the name also referring to arpeggione, an instrument honoured by Schubert. The addition of a fifth string - a low E - enriches the four others with supplementary harmonic colours, producing a particularly bright and perky tone-colour and opening up new registers to explore. With its tone-colour and its melodic qualities, the arpegina has given rise, since its appearance, to the liveliest interest on the part of concert organisers and also composers. Megumi Tanabe (Japan), Slamet Sjukur (Indonesia), Paul Desenne, Jean-Remi Guedon and Pierre Thilloy (France)have already written for the instrument which has been resented at the Cité de la Musique at La Villette in April 2000, and also with great success in Austin (Texas), in Germany, in England and in Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.