François Kieffer has been fascinated by chamber music and the world of the string quartet from an early age and is the founding cellist of the Quatuor Modigliani.
Trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in the class of Philippe Muller and Daria Hovora, he was unanimously awarded his first prize in chamber music as well as his cello prize.
In 2003 he won an audition as solo cellist of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes and founded the Quatuor Modigliani with three friends. The group went on to win three First Prizes at the International Competitions in Eindhoven (2004), Vittorio Rimbotti in Florence (2005) and the prestigious Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York (2006). Since then, the quartet has embarked on an international career in Japan, the United States, Australia, and Europe. It has made some twenty recordings, including the complete set of Schubert's 15 quartets, and won prestigious awards in France and abroad.
After studying with the Ysaÿe Quartet and attending masterclasses with Walter Levin and Gyorgy Kurtag, the Modigliani Quartet was invited to work with the Artemis Quartet at the Berlin University of the Arts. The Quatuor Modigliani has also performed and commissioned numerous contemporary works by Marc-Antony Turnage, Philippe Hersant, Pēteris Vasks, Kaija Saariaho, Evgeny Kissin, Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, Bruno Mantovani, and Elise Bertrand.
In 2014, together with the Quatuor Modigliani, he relaunched the Rencontres Musicales d’Evian after a thirteen-year hiatus, and in 2016 created the Atelier des Rencontres musicales d’Evian. The quartet is currently artistic director of the Saint-Paul de Vence Festival and the Arcachon Chamber Music Festival. In 2020, the quartet was also entrusted with the artistic direction of the International Quartet Competition in Bordeaux, Vibre!
François Kieffer's chamber music partners include Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Nicholas Angelich, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Sabine Meyer, Sayaka Shoji, Gary Hofmann, Julian Rachlin, Franck Braley, Michel Dalberto, Clemens and Veronika Hagen, and the Ysaÿe and Emerson Quartets.
After almost 20 years of experience, he is a regular guest for the juries of international competitions and gives masterclasses throughout the world (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, Menuhin School, Yonsei University, Rice University, Norges musikkhøgskole Oslo, Aix en Provence Festival). In 2023 he set up a quartet class at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and taught the Novo, Elmire and Magenta quartets.
François Kieffer plays a 1706 cello by Matteo Goffriller "ex-Warburg", and a bow by Dominique Pecatte from 1850.