Trained as a violinist, Bruno Monsaingeon devotes much of his time to making films about music, while also continuing to give concerts himself.
He has made films about the major musicians of our time, including Nadia Boulanger, Yehudi Menuhin, Glenn Gould, Viktoria Postnikova, Guennadi Rojdestvensky, Murray Perahia, Michael Tilson Thomas, Zoltan Kocsis, Friederich Gulda, Paul Tortelier, Julius Katchen, and many others.
The long periods he was able to spend with Yehudi Menuhin and Glenn Gould resulted in numerous films about the two musicians. Menuhin en Chine, la muraille ouverte and Glenn Gould, The Goldberg Vairations have become legendary.
Monsaingeon spent several years researching David Oistrakh, bringing together an impressive number of documents. This led to the production of three programmes, based on Soviet television archives, in which Oistrakh performs the concertos of Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. In 1994 Monsaingeon completed a portrait of the violinist, entitled David Oistrakh, The People’s Artist?, which recounts his life and career and includes footage from archives, autobiographical elements, and interviews with Oistrakh’s colleagues Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Guennady Rojdestvensky, Yehudi Menuhin, and his son, Igor Oistrakh.
During the same period, Monsaingeon spent many years assembling a filmed portrait of the Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. The two men worked together to reconstruct the story of his life, with Monsaingeon also organising a worldwide search for archival information about Richter. The resulting film, Richter, The Enigma released in 1998, has received numerous awards. In 2004 Monsaingeon made his debut as a conductor, leading the Yekaterinburg Orchestra in Russia. He was the soloist in a Bach violin concerto with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, and also conducted Mozart and Beethoven concertos for the young Russian star pianist, Boris Berezovsky. In 2006 he completed Glenn Gould, Hereafter, which won the Fipa d’Or award in Biarritz in 2006.
Bruno Monsaingeon has also written seven books: Mademoiselle (interviews with Nadia Boulanger, published by Van de Velde); Le dernier Puritain, Contrepoint à la ligne and Non, je ne suis pas du tout un excentrique, a three-book series including all the writings of the great Canadian pianist, composer and writer Glenn Gould (published by Fayard); Richter, Ecrits et Conversations (published by van de Velde – Arte Editions – Actes Sud, 1998), Passion, Menuhin (Editions Textuel – Arte Editions, 2000), et Glenn Gould : Journal d’une crise, followed by Correspondance de concert (Fayard, 2002).