Philippe Elan is a French chansonnier who has lived and worked in the Netherlands for some 40 years. With his warm, sensitive voice and subtle phrasing, he moves countless people time and again: in Dutch as well as French. Philippe will soon be singing with the Residentie Orkest in the iconic pop temple Het Paard.
Philippe Elan (born 1960) grew up in the south-west of France, where as a three-year-old he was already singing along to all the songs on the radio. When aged seven, he started at music school. As his grandfather was a saxophonist, the young Philippe was expected to learn to play the sax too. But all he wanted was to sing, so the sax fell by the wayside and Philippe cultivated his love for the French song, the chanson.
In 1986, love brought Philippe to the Netherlands. Not long after, he won an Alliance Française chanson competition, marking the beginning of his long career. Philippe found – and finds – inspiration in predecessors like Yves Montand, Juliette Greco, Charles Aznavour and, of course, Jacques Brel, of whom he once said during an interview, “Brel’s chansons are a gift to the world. Everyone who sings the songs makes them into something personal. I let the way I sing them be determined by the atmosphere in the auditorium, as well as by how I myself feel.”
Of the French chanson, Philippe has this to say: “In the Netherlands, it has the status of cabaret, but in France it takes other forms too, like the pop and jazz chansons. It’s part of the French soul.” Occasionally, he sings Dutch chansons: “French is melodic and smooth; Dutch is stiff and has a lot of clipped sounds. But there are lots of beautiful songs!”
Philippe Elan has sung with very many different singers and ensembles. Some years ago, he was invited to sing with the Amstel Quartet, a group of four saxophonists. He says, “Me and saxophones, it didn’t sound like a good idea. But after singing just one song with them, I was sold. What beautiful sounds, and what amazing teamwork!”
Philippe Elan sounds fabulous with the Amstel Quartet. And what about with the Residentie Orkest? Come and hear for yourself!
Philippe Elan is one of the great chansonniers in this country and an Edison Award winner. Elan joins the Residentie Orkest to bring you a vibrant, hot-blooded, romantic evening