The duo Elsa was founded by French cellist Marie Viard and Tatar pianist Liliia Khusnullina in 2015 whilst studying with Prof. Eric le Sage and Prof. Jean-Guihen Queyras at the music college in Freiburg i.Br., Germany.
Since then the musicians have successfully participated in many competitions together, winning first prizes at e.g. at the European Chamber Music Prize FNAPEC in Paris, the Chamber Music Competition at the Academy Virtuoso&Belcanto in Lucca, the international chamber music competition AEMC in Montecassiano, and have also received the Donation Dany Pouchucq Prize at the Académie Ravel in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
The duo frequently performs in France and Germany and has also played concerts in Belgium, Russia and Italy. It has also been taught by Alain Meunier, Miguel da Silva, Christoph Henkel, the Trio Voces Intimae und the Fauré Quartet. In august 2018, France Musique broadcast one of their recordings in the radio programme Réveil classique.
It is passionate about contemporary music and often collaborates with composers.
In October 2018 the duo starts on the soloist's diploma course for chamber music at the music college in Freiburg, in the class of Prof. Roglit Ishay and Prof. Eric le Sage. One month later, they win the Carl-Seemann prize which allows them to perform in Berlin.
In 2020 the two musicians will play Beethoven triple concert with the violonist Taejun Park and the Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg.
The name Elsa was chosen in memory of the great russian-french writer and resistance-fighter Elsa Triolet.
Liliia Khusnullina was born on 6th March 1990 in Tatarstan, Russia. She had first piano lessons with Irina Sergeeva at her local music school. During this time she showed promising talent in becoming an excellent musician one day. From 2005-2009 she attended a high school specialising in music where she was taught by Alfiya Schigapova.
Liliia graduated in 2014 from the sate conservatoire of Kasan where she had studied with Prof. Elfiya Burnaschewa. She has since been a student of Prof. Eric le Sage's at the music college in Freiburg, Germany.
Liliia has won many prizes in numerous competitions: International Piano Competition Citta di Pesaro (Italy), International Methodology and Presentation Competition for Pianists Karajew (Azerbaijan), winner of the competition for supporting young Talents in Russia, Scriabin International Piano Competition (France), and she was also a semi-finalist at the Robert Schumann Competition 2016 (Germany).
Apart from that she has also received scholarships from the Adelhausenstiftung Freiburg i. Br., the Rosenberg foundation and the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).
Liliia has done masterclasses with many renowned musicians such as Rem Urasin, Alexsander Mndojanz, Evan Rotschtein, Dirk Mommertz, Konstantin Heidrich and Denis Pascal.
She has taken part in various music festival, e.g. at the International Music Festival Dvoryanskoe Gnesdo at the State Museum Archangelskoe (Russia), the International Chamber Music Festival ECMA (European Music Association in Finland) and at the Neckar Music Festival 2018 in Heidelberg (Germany).
Liliia regularly plays solo and chamber music recitals in various cities around.
Marie Viard started learning the cello at the music school of Guebwiller (Elsass) when she was seven years old. She then studied with Urmas Tammick in Colmar and Paul-Antoine de Rocca-Serra in Bastia before switching to the conservatoire of music in Nice. There she studied with Frédéric Audibert and Guillermo Lefever and finished with the highest marks.
From 2012-2016 Marie studied with Prof. Christoph Henkel at the music college in Freiburg, Germany and then switched to study with Prof. Jean-Guihen Queyras. She has also done masterclasses with Gary Hoffmann, Jens-Peter Maintz and Peter Wispelwey.
From 2010-2012 she played in numerous European youth orchestras under the baton of Kwamé Ryan, Denis Russell Davies and Andrej Boreyko. She has also done some extra-work as co-principal with the Chamber Orchestra of Basel and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. Since September 2018 she works in the cello section of the Orchestre Philharmonique of Strasbourg. In 2020 she will coach the cello section of the Young french-german-hungarian Philharmonie.
She has played the main concertos for her instrument with the Student Orchestra of Freiburg, the Chamber Orchestra Landwasser and the Orchestra Musica Suprana. As a chamber musician she has played at many festivals: Janine Jansen in Utrecht, Cello Biennale in Amsterdam and at Pierre Loti in Poitou-Charentes, Sully-sur-Loire, Printemps des Arts OFF in Monaco... She is also a member of the Osmose Ensemble.
Marie won the Carl-Seemann-Prize 2012 and is supported by the Women's Scholarship in Music and Live Music Now Freiburg. In 2015 she won first prize, Prix spécial, at the international competition Leopold Bellan in Paris. At the international cello competition Edmont Baert in Brussels Marie won both the first prize as well as the prize for the best interpretation of the compulsory piece.