Renaud Capuçon (born 27 January 1976) is a French classical violinist. Since late 2016 he has been teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Capuçon was born in Chambéry on 27 January 1976. He entered the conservatory in his native city at the age of 4, and then the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP) at the age of 14 where he studied under Gérard Poulet. Three years later he completed his studies there, winning first prize in both chamber music and violin.
He then entered several international competitions and joined the European Union Youth Orchestra, and then the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra as first violin under the direction of Claudio Abbado.
At the same time he launched his career as a soloist and chamber musician, playing with Nicholas Angelich, Jérôme Ducros, Frank Braley, Hélène Grimaud, Gérard Caussé, as well as with his younger brother Gautier, a cellist.
In 1996, he founded an annual festival at La Ravoire near Chambéry, the Rencontres artistiques de Bel-Air, which ended in 2010. It welcomed the most important chamber players including Jean-Pierre Wallez, Michel Dalberto, Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevich, Augustin Dumay, Gérard Caussé, Paul Meyer, Emmanuel Pahud, Katia and Marielle Labèque.
In 2013 he began directing an Easter festival in Aix-en-Provence.
He has recorded chamber works of Ravel, Schubert, Brahms, as well concertos for violin by Schumann and Mendelssohn under the direction of Daniel Harding.
After playing a Vuillaume, a Guadagnini, and then a Stradivarius, in 2005 the Banque de Suisse Italienne BSI loaned him a Guarnerius, the "Panette" of 1737 that had belonged to Isaac Stern.
The prizes he has won include the 1992 first in chamber music and 1993 first in violin at CNSMD de Paris, then in 1995, the prize of the Berlin Academy of Arts. In 2000, he was named talent of the year by Victoires de la musique classique, which in 2005 awarded him the title "instrumental soloist of the year". In 2006 he received the Georges Enescu violin prize from the Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique.
On 25 May 2009, he participated in the film 7.57 am-pm directed by Simon Lelouch, in which he performed the Melody of Orpheus by Gluck on his Guarnerius in the middle of a crowd of commuters on Line 6 of the Paris Métro, unrecognized and unremarked by the passing crowd.
In June 2011, the French government named him Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.
He has worked with contemporary composers such as Nicolas Bacri (solo violin sonata, 1999), Karol Beffa (duet for violin and cello Masques, concerto for violin, string quartet Mosaïques), Pascal Dusapin (concerto for violin - Aufgang), Bruno Mantovani (concerto for violin - Jeux d'eau, 2012) and Wolfgang Rihm (concerto for violin - Gedicht des Malers, 2015).
In 4 January 2019, he performed a concert during “Winter at Tantora” music carnival running at Al-'Ula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northwestern Saudi Arabia.
On 10 April 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown, Capuçon was one of a handful of people to take part in a Good Friday service led by Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris, in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, which was still being rebuilt after the Notre-Dame de Paris fire a year earlier. All wore protective clothing. Capuçon provided the sole musical accompaniment.