Renée Chemet

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Renée Chemet
Renée Chemet standing at a microphone, from the George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress.
Renée Chemet standing at a microphone, from the George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress.
Renée Henriette Joséphine Chemet

January 9, 1887
DiedJanuary 2, 1977
Other namesRenée Chemet-Decreus (after marriage)

Renée Chemet (January 9, 1887 – January 2, 1977) was a French violinist.

Early life[edit]

Renée Henriette Joséphine Chemet was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine. She studied with Henri Berthelier at the Conservatoire de Paris, graduating in 1902.[1]


Chemet toured the world as a violinist for decades, playing a violin made by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. In 1904, still a teenager, she was a soloist at the Proms concerts in London, under conductor Henry Wood.[1] In 1907, she toured North America as a violinist with her husband, pianist Camille Decreus, in the company of Emma Calvé.[2][3] "Madame Chemet is a violinist of great talent", explained a reviewer who heard her in Hamburg in 1911, "with great skill, splendid technique, and big (rather manly) tone. Her style of playing is eminently French; she sometimes overdoes it by forcing sentiment and cantilène."[4]

During World War I, when travel was difficult, she gave benefit concerts and performed for the troops in France, and worked as a nurse's aide; she was awarded the Legion of Honour for her service.[5]

After the war, Chemet was a soloist in Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Glasgow in 1920.[6] In New York, she played at Carnegie Hall in 1921, at Aeolian Hall in 1923,[7] Town Hall in 1927,[8] and at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1925 and 1928.[9][10] Throughout the 1920s, she made many recordings,[11][12] and appeared regularly on radio. "Radio paves the way," she told a New York Times interviewer in 1930. "It popularizes tunes, the great symphony orchestras, the talented singers and instrumental soloists that would be ignored without this medium."[13] She played Maud Powell's violin[14] on the radio in New York in 1925.[15][16]

Pamphlet of Renée Chemet, Anca Seidlova and Michio Miyagi's recital that was held in Japan in 1932

Chenet traveled through Hawaii to Japan in 1932, to perform with pianist Anca Seidlova and koto player Michio Miyagi.[17][18][19] Later that year, she performed with the BBC Orchestra.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Chemet married fellow French musician Camille Decreus in 1906.[21] He died in 1939. She died in 1977, a week before her 90th birthday, in Paris.


  1. ^ a b E. Windust, "Renee Chemet-Decreus" The Strad (July 1909): 130-131.
  2. ^ "The Calve Concert Sale" Town Talk (November 30, 1907): 23.
  3. ^ "Program for Calve Concert" The Leavenworth Times (November 2, 1907): 8. via
  4. ^ "Music in Hamburg" The Strad (December 1911): 295.
  5. ^ "Celebrated Violinist is in America" Carry On (February 1926): 6.
  6. ^ "Music in the Provinces" The Musical Times (March 1, 1920): 196-208.
  7. ^ Richard Aldrich, "Renee Chemet's Recital" New York Times (November 23, 1923): 21. via ProQuest
  8. ^ "Violin Recital by Chemet" New York Times (December 6, 1927): 25. via ProQuest
  9. ^ "Renee Chemet in Concert" New York Times (December 14, 1925): 19. via ProQuest
  10. ^ "Renee Chemet in Opera Concert" New York Times (December 24, 1928): 18. via ProQuest
  11. ^ Renée Chemet, Discography of American Historical Recordings.
  12. ^ "Three Celebrated Pianists and Famous Violinist Added to Roster of Chickering Artists' Department" Music Trades (December 29, 1923): 16.
  13. ^ "An Artist Reveals a Love for Radio" New York Times (March 9, 19300: 155. via ProQuest
  14. ^ "Noted Baritone and Violinist to Broadcast on Thursday" New York Times (February 8, 1925): XX15. via ProQuest
  15. ^ Peter Tschmuck, Creativity and Innovation in the Music Industry (Springer Science and Business Media 2006): 55. ISBN 9781402042744
  16. ^ 'The Microphone will Present" New York Times (April 20, 1930): 116. via ProQuest
  17. ^ "Madame Chemet is Planning Concert Here This Summer" Honolulu Star-Bulletin (March 29, 1932): 38. via
  18. ^ Miyagi Michio, International Shakuhachi Society.
  19. ^ Ena Kajino, "A Lost Opportunity for Tradition: The Violin in Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Traditional Music" Nineteenth-Century Music Review 10(2)(December 2013): 293-321.
  20. ^ G. A. H., "An Orchestra Concert" The Guardian (November 7, 1932): 10. via
  21. ^ "Music in Paris" Musical Courier (June 5, 1907): 11.

External links[edit]