Does a $12 million Stradivari cello really sound so much better than a run-of-the-mill instrument?
Crozman plays the Bonjour Stradivari cello, c. 1696, acquired by the Canada Council for the Arts in 2000 from an anonymous donor. Named after Abel Bonjour, an amateur Parisian cellist who owned it in the late 19th century, it's the most valuable of the 20-plus instruments contained in the Canada Council's musical instrument bank.
Crozman is the most recent recipient of the Bonjour Strad. The list of previous recipients reads like a who's who of Canadian cello stars: Denise Djokic, Kaori Yamagami, Soo Bae, Rachel Mercer and Arnold Choi have all enjoyed the privilege of playing the Bonjour Strad for a three-year period. Crozman has been using it since 2015.
"I have been really fortunate to have had a lot of fantastic opportunities since receiving the Bonjour," Crozman told us via email. "Just this past summer, I got the chance to play with James Ehnes and in May, I toured China with my Paris-based piano trio, the Trio Guermantes. I also recorded and filmed some of my own music videos. It was really fun to work at capturing the special sound of the Bonjour, as well as to showcase it in interesting locations (including in the middle of a forest!)."
"I have a couple recording projects in the works, both solo and with the trio," he continued. "I've really loved delving into the history of the Bonjour, and I've put together a program of music for solo cello spanning it's 300-year history which I will be recording, and which will include a piece that I commissioned from Kelly-Marie Murphy especially for this project."
We recently invited Crozman to CBC Montreal's Studio 12 to give a demonstration. Below, watch him play the Gigue from Bach's Cello Suite No. 6:
Crozman is continuing his studies at the Paris Conservatory, having completed his master's degree there in May. He's pursuing an artist diploma in contemporary repertoire as well as studies in chamber music in the class of Claire Désert and Ami Flammer. He was also recently selected as one of six cellists to be part of Gautier Capuçon's "Classe d'Excellence" at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
The coming months bring a number of prominent engagements for Crozman. In December he gives a solo recital at the Grande Salle of the Philharmonie de Paris; in January he's featured on the guest artist series at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. He has recitals with pianist Philip Chiu planned for February in Montreal, Toronto and London, and in April he'll play Srul Irving Glick's complete Suites Hébraïques in Toronto with Angela Park, Elissa Lee, Sharon Wei, Barry Shiffman, James Campbell, Wallace Halliday, and Susan Hoeppner.
The 2017-18 concert season is already filling up. Crozman will do a tour with Les Jeunesses Musicales Canada and play Dutilleux's Cello Concerto, Tout un monde lointain..., with the Orchestra of the Paris Conservatory directed by Bruno Mantovani.