Valentine Michaud is a saxophonist who was born in France in 1993 and has lived in Switzerland since 2010. Her repertoire encompasses a wide range of styles, including contemporary works, baroque and classical transcriptions, and improvisation, all of which she performs with passion. Aiming to bring her instrument to a wider audience, promoting its largely unknown repertoire, and helping to create new works in innovative formats are some of her key values as an artist, along with enthusiasm and curiosity for exploring different horizons.

Valentine has been awarded numerous prizes at international competitions. In 2020, she is chosen as the winner of the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award, which allows her to make her debut with the Vienna Philarmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival. In 2016, she won the first prize at the Jurjans Andrejs VI Woodwind International Competition in Riga (Latvia) and the Prix Credit Suisse at Lucerne Festival, while her duo Akmi with pianist Akvilé Sileikaité received the Swiss Ambassador Award 2019, as well as the first prize at the renowned Orpheus Swiss Chamber Music Competition 2016 and as 2nd Prize at the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition (Verona) in 2018. Since 2015, she has been supported by prestigious Swiss grants such as the Leenaards foundation cultural grant and Migros’ Pour-Cent Culturel, which saw her added to their concert management programme in 2016.

Valentine Michaud is a Henri Selmer Paris endorser artist.

Concerts and projects around the world…

A passionate believer in the richness of collaborations between different artistic forms, Valentine is one of the founding members of WAITING FOR AMON, a trilogy of multidisciplinary performances. GLITCH, the first show, is a spectacle performed by a painter, two dancers, two saxophonists and live electronic effects, premiered at the Theater der Künste in Zurich in 2016. In 2017 followed CAIRNS, for one performer and saxophone quartet. SHOUT, the last part of the trilogy, for saxophone solo and performer, iwas premiered in march 2018 in Zürich. The triptych was awarded by the Nico Kaufmann Foundation (Zürich) in 2018.

Willing to renew the repertoire of her instrument, Valentine collaborates with composers of her generation and premier their works in new music festivals such as Impuls in Graz (Austria) or Zürich Internation SaxFest.  Member of the Ever Present Orchestra, she currently works with the american composer Alvin Lucier.


She performs regularly as a soloist, in chamber music groups and in orchestras on some of the most prestigious stages in the world: KKL Luzern, Switzerland; Wigmore Hall, London; Grand Philarmonic Hall, St Petersburg; Issue Project Room, New York; Great Guild Hall, Riga; Gnessin Academy, Moscow; Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna; Philharmonie Hall, Odessa; Esplanade, Singapore; Tonhalle, Zurich; Victoria Hall, Geneva … In 2016, she had the opportunity to perform with the Mariinsky Orchestra directed by Valery Gergiev and the Orchestre des Continents under Thierry Fischer. She is invited as a soloist by orchestras such as the Vienna Philarmonic, the State Cappella Symphony Orchestra, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, l’Ensemble Symphonique de Neuchâtel, le Junge Zürcher Harmoniker or la Philarmonie de Hradec Kralové.

From the Atlantic to Lake Geneva: the journey of an inquisitive student

Valentine began her studies in Nantes following the French school of saxophone with Joël Hérissé, before moving to Switzerland at the age of 16 to study with Pierre-Stéphane Meugé at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne. She is interested in both contemporary repertoire and works from older periods such as baroque and renaissance. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in saxophone in 2013, while simultaneously studying for a Bachelor’s degree in musicology at Sorbonne University in Paris. After completing her first Master’s degree in instrumental pedagogy, she continued her training from 2015 to 2018 with a second Master’s degree specialising in solo performance with Lars Mlekusch at the Zurich University of the Arts, where she became assistent of Prof. Lars Mlekusch until 2018. 

An eclectic education

The daughter of two graphic designers, Valentine chose the saxophone at eight years of age and began learning with Slava Kazykin, who introduced her to klezmer music at a very early stage, as well as to ensemble practice and to appearing on stage (concerts in Kiev in 2006). Two years later, Valentine started studying piano with Ludmila Zvaitseva, and then with Colette Musquer at the Nantes Conservatoire, before completing her studies with Marja-Liisa Marosi at the conservatoire in Lausanne. While she was a member of Jean-Marie Bellec’s jazz class in Nantes, she co-founded the jazz quintet Penta Tonik, which performed at several venues in France between 2006 and 2010 (including Europa Jazz, Rendez-vous de l’Erdre and Jazz in Marciac). These experiences confirmed her taste for performing in groups and her love of the stage.

The dynamic and generous young saxophonist now teaches at the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique de Genève and passes on her passion to other young musicians at instrumental training courses such as the saxophone camp Sax Up, which was founded in 2015.