oboe, English horn; Bb, Eb and bass clarinets; soprano, C-melody and tenor saxophones

composition, improvisation, soundpainting

film music, sound ingeniering, production

Emmanuelle Somer was born January 5th, 1972 in Brussels, with French and Dutch citizenships.

She graduated from the European School, speaking French, English, Dutch and German fluently.

As a teenager, she played the piano, recorder, oboe, saxophone and drums.

She studied with Paul Dombrecht at Brussels Koninklijk Conservatorium, where she got degrees in oboe, English horn, solfege and chamber music. She also studied free improvisation with Fabrizio Cassol (Aka Moon), Michel Massot (Tous Dehors) and Garret List. She later toured and played in Europe with Michel Massot, Stephane Galland, Kris Defoort, Pierre van Dormael, Claudio Puntin...

Emmanuelle decided to cross the Atlantic ocean for discovering jazz in its craddle. She received a full scholarship that enabled her to enroll at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in both composition and improvisation, and learned film scoring techniques. She enriched her musical experiences there by 300 concerts and 600 studio hours in all styles, and founded the Helios Quartet in 1995, which regularly tours Europe since its creation.

In 1997, Emmanuelle moved to New York, where she performed with Dave Douglas, Dave Gilmore, Chris Potter, Jim Black, Peter Epstein, Tom Varner, Lindsey Horner among many others, regularly booked at the Knitting Factory and other local clubs. She also got into clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone playing, singing and modern dancing, and continued composing and preparing new tours. She recorded the CD The Apple Tree (LY98016-C) at New York's Knitting Factory with the Helios Quartet and the Tone Poets, signing all compositions.

In 2000 and 2001, Emmanuelle found herself mainly in Paris, recording Odyssey in Brussels with the Somer-Mangen Quartet, and Search for Peace in New York with 7 other musicians, composing and arranging for the 17 instruments represented. Beside a steady musical and technical evolution on all 6 instruments and composition, Emmanuelle specialized herself in audio engineering, mixing the album Search for Peace herself, as well as in graphism and judo, and studied some Japanese. She also followed private courses in Indian talas and rhythm with Trichy Sankaran, therefore traveling to Toronto.

In 2002, Emmanuelle decided to explore Japan and the Tokyo jazz and creative scene. She performed on all 6 instruments in Tokyo main studios (NHK, Sound City) and venues (Sweet Basil, Pit Inn) with Japanese musicians Takashi Harada, Masahiko Osaka, Yoichi Murata, Eiichi Hayashi, Sachi Nagata, Yoshihide Otomo, Kyoko Kuroda, Toru Odajima, Toshiyuki Omori to name just a few. She also continued practicing judo and katas at the Kodokan, where she passed the exam for the black belt. Nevertheless Emmanuelle wasn't satisfied artistically nor creatively in Japan. After 7 months on the island, she decided to go back to France. But she, her music to come and her global apreciation of European cultural assets and of Western world, will remain deeply moved by her Nippon experience.

In 2003, Emmanuelle finally settles in the Loire region, in Saint DyÈé near Blois and the Castle of Chambord, finding peace and harmony and being far from big cities' noise and lack of humanity. Nevertheless she continues to travel and ray, and to build a studio for future recordings. She also follows a special training for firemen and graduates at Tours' University FranÁois Rabelais in musicology, her final work being dedicated to the film music of Dimitri Chostakovitch. Since January 2004, Emmanuelle gets involved in a radio broadcast in Luynes, the subject being "Jazz and today's musics", for the promotion and the broadcasting of creative musics of artists who are seldom promoted by the medias and which adhere to no "style" in particular.

In 2004 Emmanuelle tours and records in Poland with the Oles brothers, Michael Rabinowitz and Erik Friedlander, and takes part in a recording of Jewish compositions for Tzadik; she also tours and records in the United States. In 2005 Emmanuelle creates a yearly festival in the Loir-et-Cher region; the first one called "The oboe in all states" featured Paul Dombrecht, Piet van Bockstal and Emmanuelle Somer with Jean-Luc Fillon; the second is dedicated to Shostakovich's centenary in 2006. She and cellist Ariane Wilson give European concerts of traditional folkloric music from Europe and Middel Eastern countries rearranged as original compositions, under the name of Troubadours du XXI° siècle. With François Verly playing bass marimba, gongs, tablas and harpsichord, she records the CD Ambivalences in October 2006.

Winter 2006 finds Emmanuelle on the Carribean and Pacific seas on cruising ships for 5 months, where she performs daily on saxophone, clarinet and flute. Back to France, she auditions for Cirque du Soleil and gives improvisation masterclasses. Fall 2007 she teaches improvisation techniques, jazz harmony, jazz history and rhythm weekly at Petrozavodsk Conservatory near Saint Petersbourg in Russia, and gives there a few concerts of her classical and jazz compositions.

In 2008-2009 Emmanuelle is hired for Patricia Kaas world tour, appearing at 96 concerts in 10 months and with 4 instruments including the oboe and English horn (which is première in pop-rock) and on the “Kabaret” CD and DVD. In the summer of 2009 she composes and directs the music of a theater production for l’Intruse, and continues teaching masterclasses for teenagers; she joins Elie Maalouf Quintet for concerts in Europe et Arabian countries. She studies soundpainting with Walter Thompson and François Jeanneau and joins Paintatonik, a soundpainting group based in Orléans.

In 2010-2011 she is part of the Soundpainting Orchestra of the "Union des Musiciens de Jazz" (SPOUMJ) in Paris, lead by François Jeanneau, and of Klangfarben Ensemble directed by François Cotinaud, with Yves Robert and guests of the Ensemble Intercontemporain. She deepens her soundpainting knowledge by its founder, Walter Thompson. She also gives many classical and contemporary recitals for oboe and piano in Center, France, and teaches oboe at Vineuil music conservatory, as well as improvisation masterclasses. She also follows wooden instrument repair courses.

In 2012 Emmanuelle moves to Nice and joins the group So What and the Azurean Collective of Soundpainting co-directed by David Amar. She record 2 free improvisation CD’s, respectively with Barre Phillips, Henri Roger and François Cotinaud, and Eric-Maria Couturier, Henri Roger and Bruno Tocanne. She goes on with Parisian projets, and with her own classical ones, solo and duo.

In 2014 Emmanuelle founds a new group Vanya Project dedicated to her compositions, with cellist Raphael Zweifel, accordeonist Guy Giuliano and percussionist Mourad Baïtiche, and joins a musician collective counting Jean-Marc Baccarini, Serge Pesce, Audrey Vallarino, Marie-Pierre Foessel a.o., which concentrates on free improvisation and soundpainting projects.


Autodidact : Saxophones, clarinets, flute, mixing with Pro Tools, graphism with Photoshop, Russian, Japanese.

University FanÁois Rabelais Tours (Tours, France) : 2003-2005. European Master Degree in musicology. Final work on Dimitri Chostakovitch's film music.

Liege Royal Conservatory (Liege, Belgium) : 1996-1997. Specialisation in free improvisation with Garrett List and in Chambre music.

Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA) : 1993-1996. Full scholarship for studying jazz improvisation and composition and film scoring. Graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1996.

Brussels Royal Conservatory (Brussels, Belgium) : 1989-1993. Master degree in oboe, degrees in English horn, chamber music and solfege. Main teacher: Paul Dombrecht. Improvisation classes with renowned musicians Fabrizio Cassol and Michel Massot.

European School (Brussels, Belgium): 1977-1989. European baccalaureate. Native fluency in French, English, Dutch and German.

Masterclasses with renowned European oboe teachers Thomas Indermühle, Emanuel Abbuhl, Diethelm Jonas, Henk Swinnen: 1984-1989.

Kodokan Judo Dojo (Tokyo, Japan): 2002. Emmanuelle receives 1st Dan in judo. Principal teachers: Ray Dunmeyer (New York), Pierre Le CaÎr (Paris), Go Tsunoda (Spain).

Loir-et-Cher: 2003. Diplomas in secourism and volunteer firewoman.

Competitions and Awards

Elected "Best player" of "miscellaneous instruments", both in the listeners poll (RTBF/VRT) and the Belgian critics poll (French speaking); 1998.

Finalist International Jazz Competition Hoeilaart (Belgium) with the Helios Quartet, 1998.

Finalist Tenuto Classical Music Contest for Belgian Radio and Television (Belgium), 1997.

Graduated Magna Cum Laude of Berklee College in composition (Boston, MA), 1995.

Winner of the Annual Berklee Concerto Competition (Boston, MA), 1995.

Auditions for World Youth Orchestra (reserve, 1992) and for European Youth Orchestra.

Participated at competitions and festivals in Belgium, Paris, Boston, New York et Charleston.

Professional Experience

Concerts and CD recording Ambivalences in duo with François Verly (October 2006).

Concerts in France, Belgium and Luxembourg in duo with Ariane Wilson Troubadours du XXIe siËcle (2005-).

Carribean and Pacific tour with the Royal Carribean International Orchestra (November 2006-March 2007).

Concerts in duo with Jarrod Cagwin (2003-2006). Festival Helios The oboe in all states with Jarrod Cagwin and Jean-Luc Fillon (July 2005). Recording with Zahava Seewald for Tzadik (2005).

Clarinet, saxophone, improvisation and solfege teacher for Helios association and music schools in the Loir-et-Cher (2003-2006). Improvisation and composition summerclasses for teenagers and adults.

Concerts and recordings in Japan with Yasutaka Yoshioka, Otomo Yoshihide, Toshiyuki Omori, Eiichi Hayashi, Yoichi Murata, Mitsuya Suzuki, Toru Odajima, Masuhiro Itami… (2002).

European and American tours with Helios Quartet, Tone Poets and Somer-Mangen Quartet (1996- ) ; Japanese tour with Ensemble Caravelli (2001).

Recording, mixing, production et promotion of Odyssey (Somer-Mangen Quartet) (Brussels, 2000) and Search for Peace (Helios Quartet, Tone Poets and guests) (New-York / Nantes, 2000-2001).

Composition commission for Ouvertures, for woodwind quintet, DJ and herself (Charleroi, Belgium, world premiere on April 20th, 2001).

Festivals (Berlin, Nevers, Artois, GenËve AMR, Gaume, Brasil, Syria, New York,...) with Helios Quartet, Tone Poets and Somer-Mangen Quartet (1997- ).

European tours with the Oles brothers' Chamber Quintet (2004-2005).

Recordings with the Oles brothers' Chamber Quintet and with Zahava Seewald and Michael Grebil for Tzadik (2004-2005).

Concerts in partnership with Paul Dombrecht and Piet van Bockstal.

Private duo concerts with Jarrod Cagwin or Marc Mangen.

Oboe and improvisation clinics for FNAC (1998).

Passages Jazz and Dance Belgian tours(1998- ).

European appearances NROZ quartet (1996-1998).

CD Recording and Production "The Apple Tree" (LY98016-C) (december 1997).

European tours with Transition and Emmanuelle Somer Quartet (1993-1996).

Improvisation masterclasses in Travers (Brussels) (1996- ).

Experience of 800 hours of studio recordings: film scores, classical, jazz, rock, songwriting, commercial arranging, latin, new age, contemporary, improvisation... as a performer, composer, sound ingenieur and producer.

Recorded 9 CD's in Belgium and USA (Youth Philharmony: Moussorgsky-Ravel's Pictures of an Exhibition, Audrey Englebert: Chanson FranÁaise, Juancho Herrera: Aznarada, Peter Vantine: Zen).

Composed and recorded the score for two short movies (1995, 1996).

Recorded for two American movies (David Spear: Penthathlon; Kevin Kliesch: Stacktrack) and two Belgian documentaries.

Concerts as soloist: Holliger Studies ¸ber Mherklange, Martinu Oboe Concerto, Rimsky-Korsakov Variations for Oboe and military band, Chimarosa Oboe Concerto (1989-1997).

Principal Oboist at the New England Philharmonic (1993-1994), the Berklee Concert Wind Ensemble (1993-1996); the Spoleto Festival Orchestra (1995); Principal English horn at the Plymouth Philharmonic (1994). Played in the Brookline Symphonic and the Longy Chamber Orchestra.

Toured with youth orchestras throughout Europe and United States (1984-1994).

Jazz concerts and appearances with American artists Dave Douglas, Jim Black, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Thomas Chapin, Peter Epstein, Tom Varner, Lindsey Horner, Jarrod Cagwin, and European artists Michel Pilz, Claudio Puntin, StÈphane Galland, Michel Massot, Pierre van Dormael, Pierre Vaianna, Renaud Barbier,...

Concerts for non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace, Unicef and Amnesty International.

Saxophone, clarinet, piano, recorder and ear training teacher at Staten Island Conservatory of New York (1997-1999).

Music teacher at Brussels European school, teaching in French, English, German and Dutch (1996-1998).

Masterclasses and teaching sessions, in improvisation, jazz, instrument, composition, initiation for kids, in conservatories, schools, colleges and jazz clubs throughout Europe and the United States (1996-).

Experience in teaching theory, ear training, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, recorder, piano, improvisation, harmony, analysis, composition, initiation, privately or in public schools, individually or groupwise, kids and adults.

Graphism, web mastering and computering at the music store Woodwind & Brasswind Paris (2001).

Worked as a volunteer for public relations and management at Knitting Factory (New York) (1997- ).

Worked for public relations and artists management at Travers Jazz Club and BM Promotion (Brussels, Belgium) (1991-1994).


Travelling, human relationships, cultures and lifestyles, arts, sports, sciences, foreign languages, ecology, environment, cooking, martial arts, judo, and dance.

Goals with my music

Use of all my energy, positively, to transmit it to the audience. Teach people to develop their senses and creativity for expression and cultural purposes, educate for a better world.
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