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Antoni Besses (Piano)

Born: March 5, 1945 - Barcelonia, Catalonia, Spain

The Spanish pianist, composer, conductor and teacher, Antoni Besses i Bonet, was very early remarked for his artistic brightness. He studied there at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona - piano, composition and chamber music, under Joan Gibert Camins, Joaquim Zamacois and Joan Massià and J. Too. He got several grants to study in Paris with Pierre Sancan and Olivier Messiaen and in Antwerp with Frédéric Gevers. He has also collaborated with and been advised by Guido Agosti, Alicia de Larrocha, Vlado Perlemuter, Alberto Ginastera, not forgetting the famous Catalan composer Frederic (Federico) Mompou, who said: “... he is a complete musician with a solid training. In addition to his high standing as a pianist - in which I am pleased to include a faithful interpretation of my work - he displays an outstanding ability in the field of composition and as a conductor”.

At the end of his studies, Antoni Besses was already the holder of an impressive prize list: “Maria Barrientos”, “Extraordinario de Piano”, First Prize from the French Institute in Barcelona; awarded First Prize - Drago de Plata - at the International Competition of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1968); Diplôme Superieur avec Grande Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp (1977); Finalist of the Viña del Mar International Competition (Chile, 1978); First Prize for Orchestra Conductor (Antwerp, 1979).

With an extensive repertoire from Baroque to contemporary composers, Antoni Besses has performed in the most distinguished concert halls in Europe and the rest of the world, with such famous conductors as Sergiu Comissiona, Aaron Copland, Igor Markevitch, Emil Simon, amongst others. He has worked in close collaboration with musicians of international prestige, like Radu Adulescu (cello), Marçal Cervera (cello), Gonçal Comellas (violin), Eva Graubin (violin), Cristoph Henkel (cello).

Antoni Besses is also a composer. As a composer his works include Seguit for piano (1972), perhaps the most significant, and Música 17 (1974), Joc de cadires, which was performed at the Festival de Música de Barcelona in 1980, and Concert per a piano i orquestra, premiered with great success in Barcelona. His music was played during international festivals in Royan and Barcelona.

With his profound research into the work of J.S. Bach, Antoni Besses has left his personal impression on such fundamental works as Das Wohltemperirte Klavier (entire work) and the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), which he has played in public more than forty times, and is considered to be one of its best interpreters - now recorded on CD by Edicions Moraleda. Other remarkable recordings are also noteworthy: Blancafort (entire work), Falla (entire work), Mompou (entire work), Johannes Brahms, César Franck, Granados, Schubert, Turina, Heitor Villa-Lobos, as well as his own compositions.

Since 1981, Antoni Besses is Professor of piano at the Conservatori Superior de Música de Barcelona, and he has been teaching at the ESMUC in that city for the past six years (since 2006?), involved in an intense educational activity, imparting numerous master-classes and lectures in Madrid (Conservatorio Superior), Warsaw (Chopin Academy), Quebec (Faculty of Music), and Kuhmo (International Music Festival).

“We are talking about an excellent musician, pianist and composer” - said Olivier Messiaen, defining him in the ‘sixties. In the words of Frédéric Gevers: “Antoni Besses is an accomplished pianist. His musicality is both intense and distinguished, his technique perfect. He has tremendous sensitivity and undertakes the works with a creative spirit, escaping any academic approach.”
He has a wide repertoire, and is considered to be one of the most solid stars amongst contemporary performers, whose interpretative qualities were already pointed out by Pierre Sancan: “...I always had the feeling that I was dealing with one of the performers who responded most sincerely to the message of the music, the deeper significance of which too many virtuosos seem to be unaware.”

Source: Ad Musicam Website; Encyclopèdia Catalana Website; A.M. Agente Artístico Website (November 10, 2011)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2012)

Antoni Besses: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Antoni Besses (Ad Musicam)
Antoni Besses in Bonet (Encyclopè [Catalan]
Antoni Besses on Facebook

Antoni Besses i Bonet (Wikipèdia) [Catalan]
Antoni Besses in Bonet (Clivis Music) [Catalan]
A.M. Agente Artístico, S.L : Antoni Besses - Pianista

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