A previously undiscovered Sonata for solo violin by Eugène Ysaÿe has been discovered by Philippe Graffin. Written some time between the composer’s fifth and sixth published sonatas, the work was discovered by Graffin in the library of the Brussels Conservatoire.Philippe Graffin

‘Josef Szigeti once visited Ysaÿe in the Belgian resort town of Knokke’ says Graffin. ‘While there, he saw a green sketchbook of Ysaÿe’s that he described as “very precious” and containing many marvellous things’. After Ysaÿe’s death, the sketchbook passed to Philip Newman, a British violinist, and then to French violinist, Josette Lavergne, who left her collection to the Brussels Conservatoire. ‘When I was shown the manuscript’, Graffin explains, “I saw the title “Sixth Sonata” but, to my amazement, I didn’t recognize the music beneath it. It wasn’t a sketch but a very elaborate first draft. There was a very substantial first movement, a canzone-like second movement, and a third movement that was two-thirds completed’.

Graffin analysed the structural principles of Ysaÿe’s six published Sonatas and used them alongside material from the ‘new’ piece to complete its final movement. ‘It’s at least 98 per cent Ysaÿe’s work’, he says, ‘and a wonderful new addition to the repertoire’.The work is to be known as Sonate posthume, pour violon seul, Op 27 bis.

Graffin premièred the Sonata in Belgium in May 2018 and has since premiered it at the Ysaÿe 

Festival of Japan (in Fukuoka and in Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan). It was first broadcast on the WDR3  station of German radio, Westdeutsche Rundfunk Köln in September.  Philippe will give performances in Paris at the Printemps du Violon festival and in Schiermonikoog, Netherlands in March and in the US at the Rockport Festival in June.


  • Graffin’s recording of the new work on AVIE will be released on 1st February
    CD No: AV2399
  • THE STRAD Magazine will run a major feature on Graffin and this discovery in their February 2019 issue.  A short documentary film will be also be available on The Strad’s website.
  • Graffin’s edition of the work is to be published shortly by Schott, Mainz. 


Philippe Graffin has started a new multi-venue festival in Brussels, TRACES January 20-27, 2019

He explains the festival’s premise: 
The trumpets of fame draw us towards the pinnacles of the repertoire, where a very few
composers, in fact always the same, keep the public’s interest through the test of, rather unconcerned, times.  Yet, what happens when such a talented composer as Erwin Schulhof disappears prematurely  in a Nazi concentration camp ? Or what occurs after the marvellous and well respected Austrian composers Karl Weigl and his wife Waly find themselves anonymous in the United States after having fled the Anschluss?
This festival is our duty.  The duty of playing the music of those who have, silently,  left a few signs on some hidden pages like bottles to the sea before disappearing. 

Each concert will honor a personality living in those troubled days and will be dedicated to them.
This first edition present works from composers amongst the most famous of their generation.
Sometimes, placed into perspective with universal masterpieces, they will surprise one with their force and their author’s incredible talent’
Venues: Jewish Museum, Protestant Chapel, Polish Embassy, Georgian Embassy, home of Maria Grazia Tanese, Thalie Lab Foundation, Brussels Royal Conservatoire.

Click here for the website of Traces:

Other performance highlights:

  • JAN: London Chamber Music Society, King’s Place, LONDON  
  • FEB: Rockport Festival, USA
  • MAR: Camerata Nordica: Västervik/Kalmar/Oskarshamn/Vara, SWEDEN
  • MAY: Recital La Chapelle Reine Elisabeth,  BRUSSELS
  • MAY: Concerts du Poche, FRANCE
  • AUG: Festival Pablo Casals, Prades, FRANCE
  • SEPT: Académie Maurice Ravel, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, FRANCE

In September 2019 Philippe returns to Knokke, the Belgian seaside town where Ysaÿe had his summer residence, to curate the 2nd edition of ‘Ysaÿe’s Knokke.
The theme for this festival around Ysaÿe will be: ‘Home Sweet Home’.

Download PDF here

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