An outstanding soloist as well as a fine chamber musician, Alexandre Tharaud has dedicated much of his time to French music.
Born in Paris on 9 December 1968, Alexandre began his piano lessons at age five at the initiative of his parents. He met his teacher, Tacconi-Devenat Carmen, a student of Marguerite Long, at the Conservatory in 14th District. Alexandre declares that Carmen gave him “life lessons”, and taught him to “breathe physically, making the piano speak”.
|At age 14, Alexandre entered the Paris Conservatory, where he won the first prize in the piano class of Germaine Mounier three years later. He also studied with Theodor Paraskivesco, and received advice from Claude Helffer, Leon Fleisher and Nikita Magaloff. From 1987 to 1988, Alexandre won the International Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona, and the Competition Città di Senigallia in Italy. After graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, Alexandre started his international career after winning the 2nd Prize at the ARD Competition in Munich.
Alexandre refuses to have a piano at home, at the risk of preferring the pleasure of deciphering and improvisation with the need for rigorous work. He likes practicing with friends, and prefers to play on different instruments each time: “It’s digging, scraping the flaws that I need to find solutions to achieve the color I want. Subsequently, in concert, the fetishism of the instrument becomes relatively high so I usually interact with any type of piano”. He also composes, but prefers to keep this activity in the background.
Since 1997, Alexandre devotes a large part of his activity to chamber music. He has practised with a number of musicians, including pianist Michel Dalberto, flautists Philippe Bernold and Patrick Gallois, clarinetists Michel Portal and Michel Lethiec, the Ébène Quartet, violinist Pierre Amoyal, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
An enthusiastic advocate of the music of his own time and dedicatee of many new works, Alexandre’s repertoire ranges from Bach to the moderns. His recordings for Harmonia Mundi are essentially music for solo piano and chamber music; the CD of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, which was recorded by Alexandre Tharaud and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, has received unanimous critical acclaim.
Alexandre’s adventurous approach to programming results in a series of commissions and premières. He has toured extensively in Europe with his ‘Hommages à Rameau’ programme, as well as ‘Hommage à Couperin’ that features works by the composer, together with pieces by Gagneux, Pesson, Mâche, Hersant and Lenot. In October 2006, Alexandre gave the world premiere of Thierry Pécou’s piano concerto, l’Oiseau Innumérable, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
Alexandre has also received several awards for his recordings, including the Grand Prix Académie Charles-Cros for his interpretation of Poulenc’s music in 1997, and for his release of Ravel’s complete works for solo piano in 2003. “Tic, Toc, Choc”, a collection of Couperin’s pieces, reached the Top 20 in the German classical charts, and was selected as ‘CHOC de l’année 2007’ by Monde de la Musique. In 2009, he was named ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ by the Ministry of Culture in France.
Alexandre Tharaud – Couperin: Tic Toc Choc
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