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Michel Béroff (Piano, Conductor)

Born: May 9, 1950 - Épinal, France

The French pianist and conductor, Michel Béroff, was trained at the Nancy Conservatory, winning the 1st prize in 1962 and the prize of excellence in 1963. He completed his studies at the Paris Conservatory (CNSM) with Yvonne Loriod, where he immediately stood out as one of the best pianists, winning the 1st prize in 1966. In 1967 he made his Paris recital debut and won the 1st prize at the first international Olivier Messiaen Piano Competition in Royan . He has been since considered one of the most outstanding interpreter of Messiaenís music .

During the next years Michel Béroff played with the most prestigious orchestras around the world and as a recitalist. He has played under the direction of such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohnányi, Antal Doráti, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Inbal, Eugen Jochum, Erich Leinsdorf, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yutaka Sado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Georg Solti, Tennsted, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Zinman, and many others.

Not every musician can deal with the music of French avant-garde composer Olivier Messiaen very easily. After all, it isn't every composer that bases one entire set of solo piano pieces on the songs of birds, or creates as intense and as difficult a composition to play as the Quartet for the End of Time. Michel Béroff has established a reputation as one of the premier interpreters of this composer's music, but is also known for superior performances of composers such as L.v. Beethoven, Béla Bartók, Johannes Brahms, Debussy, W.A. Mozart, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Schubert, Robert Schumann and Igor Stravinsky.

As a recitalist and a chamber musician, Michel Béroff has been very active playing with Pierre Amoyal, Martha Argerich, Jean-Philippe Collard, Augustin Dumay, Lynn Harrell, and Barbara Hendricks, among others.

Michel Béroff has also conducted detailed studies of the theories of conducting as well as the left-handed piano repertoire. Southpaws everywhere can delight in his recording of the Ravelís Concerto for the Left Hand, done with the London Symphony Orchestra and Claudio Abbado for Deutsche Grammophon. The former interest led to him beginning another career as an orchestra conductor, which continues to be overshadowed by his busy schedule as a pianist. He has however established himself as an educator in the conducting field. He returned to his student haunts at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSM) in 1989 to teach conducting, and has also taught the fine art of baton waving at Freiburg's Music University (Musikhochschule) since 1994. As a publisher, Béroff participated, for Wiener Urtext, to a new edition of Debussy piano music. For the japanese network NHK, he realized, in 2006, a series of 15 master-classes on French music.

Exclusive EMI artist for over 20 years , Michel Beroff has published more than 50 recordings; among them, the complete works for piano and orchestra from Franz Liszt, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, conducted by Seiji Ozawa and Kurt Masur. He has also recorded works by Béla Bartók Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, Robert Schumann and Schubert.

In 1996 Michel Béroff toured Japan extensively, performing the works of Debussy and recording these compositions for the Japanese Denon label. The resulting five albums won an equal number of Grand Prix du Disques awards. During this tour he also worked with the NHK Symphony and Shinsei Japan Philharmonic. Received with much enthusiasm in Japan, he returned later the same year for recitals and the recording of Debussy's Le Bal Masqué with Seiji Ozawa and Wolfgang Holzmair for Philips Classics. He then undertook a period of concentration on the works of Igor Stravinsky, presenting an orchestral and recital project with the Residentie Orkest Den Haag. In 2000 he made a very important tour in England and Spain with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur, playing the Prokofievís Concerto No. 3.

In Europe, concerto works during recent seasons include performances of Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Pierre Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra during the Boulez Festival in London and Paris. He was invited with the Orchestre National de France for concerts in Paris and in Athens with the conductor Yutaka Sado, playing Prokofievís Concerto No. 3. Béroff has recently performed the Prokofievís Concertos Nos. 1 and 4 with the Orchestre de Paris under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach. He also played in concert in Paris the complete works for piano from Debussy and Janacek. In the USA, Béroff has been invited to open the New York Philharmonic Orchestra season with the Igor Stravinskyís Cappricio under the baton of Kurt Masur. In Asia, after very successful tours in Japan with orchestras such as the English Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, he conducted the NHK Symphony, the Japan Shinsei Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Phillharmonic, or the Osaka Philharmonic. After a tour in June 2003, Béroff went to Korea for a recital and concerts with the KBS orchestra. He also toured extensively in Germany, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Brasil, Korea and China.

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Source: Baker's Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); TranArt Website; Wikipedia Website (September 2011); All Music Guide (Author: Eugene Chadbourne); Arthur Rubinstein Competition Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2011)

Michel Béroff: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Michel Béroff (TransArt)
Michel Béroof (Arthur Rubinstein Competition)

Michel Béroff (Wikipedia)

Michel Béroff - Biography (AMG)

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