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Cyprien Katsaris (Piano, Arranger)

Born: May 5, 1951 - Marseilles, France

The French-Cypriot pianist and composer, Cyprien Katsaris, first began to play the piano at the age of four, in Cameroon where he spent his childhood. His first teacher was Marie-Gabrielle Louwerse. A graduate of the Paris Conservatoire where he studied piano with Aline van Barentzen and Monique de la Bruchollerie (piano First Prize, 1969), as well as chamber music with René Leroy and Jean Hubeau (First Prize, 1970), he won the International Young Interpreters Rostrum-Unesco (Bratislava 1977), the First Prize in the International Cziffra Competition (Versailles 1974) and he was the only western-European prize-winner at the 1972 Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition. He was also awarded the Albert Roussel Foundation Prize (Paris 1970) and the Alex de Vries Foundation Prize ( Antwerp 1972).

Cyprien Katsaris gave his first public concert in Paris , at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on May 8, 1966, as a “Knight” of the youth competition “The Kingdom of Music”; he performed the Hungarian Fantasy by Franz Liszt, with the Orchestre Symphonique d'Ile-de-France conducted by René-Pierre Chouteau. His major international career includes performances with the world's greatest orchestras, most notably the Berliner Philharmoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C.), Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Oxford Philomusica and City of Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, whose inaugural concert's and subsequent tour he was the featured soloist (1978). He has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Mstslav Rostropovich, Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Antal Doráti, Iván Fischer, Eliahu Inbal, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, James Conlon, Sir Charles Mackerras, Rudolf Barshai, Sandor Végh, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Marios Papadopoulos… and Karl Münchinger, who on the festive occasion of his farewell concert in 1986, with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, personally invited him to perform the Haydn D major Concerto. In addition to his activities as a soloist Cyprien Katsaris founded the “Katsaris Piano Quintet”. They have received enthusiastic responses from both the press and audiences in the Americas , Europe and Japan.

Cyprien Katsaris has recorded extensively for Teldec (Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw 1985; Grand Prix du Disque Franz Liszt, Budapest 1984 and 1989; British Music Retailer's Association's Award 1986; Record of the Year 1984, Germany, for the 9th Symphony of L.v. Beethoven/Liszt), Sony Classical, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG-RCA, Decca, Pavane, and now on his own label, Piano 21. His discography consists of solo works by most of the greatest masters as well as works for piano and orchestra including J.S. Bach's Concertos with the Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Johannes Brahms' Concerto no. 2 with Eliahu Inbal conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra (London), both Concertos of Felix Mendelssohn with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (of which F. Mendelssohn had been music Director), and the complete Concertos by W.A. Mozart, recorded live and performed in Salzburg and Vienna with Yoon K. Lee and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie. In addition to the standard repertory, he has recorded, as world premières, long lost works such as the Liszt/Tchaikovsky's Concerto in the Hungarian style with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, L.v. Beethoven's own piano arrangement of his Ballet The Creatures of Prometheus and Gustav Mahler's original piano version of Das Lied von der Erde with Mezzo Brigitte Fassbaender and Tenor Thomas Moser. In 1992, the Japanese NHK TV produced with Cyprien Katsaris a thirteen programs series on Frédéric Chopin which included master-classes and performances. In October 1999 , the New-york concertgoers offered him a standing-ovation in Carnegie Hall for his recital dedicated to F. Chopin, performed on the day of his 150 th death Anniversary. This concert was recorded (audio and video) and has been issued on the Piano 21 Label. Two famous film directors, Claude Chabrol and Oscar-winner François Reichenbach, have made films of Cyprien Katsaris in live concert performances.

Cyprien Katsaris has been a member of the jury of the following International Competitions: Chopin (Warsaw 1990), Liszt (Utrecht 1996), Vendôme Prize (Paris 2000), Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud-Ville de Paris (2001) and Beethoven (Bonn 2005). He has also conducted master-classes at the Mannes College of Music, in New York City , the University of Toronto , the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Arts Academy in Mexico, The Academy of Performing Arts in Hong-Kong, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Cyprien Katsaris was appointed in 1977 Artistic Director of the International Festival of Echternach in Luxembourg. His work has been honoured and recognized by the following awards: “Knight of Merit of Cameroon” (1977), “Artist of Unesco for Peace” (1997), “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” (France, 2000). He also received the “Vermeil Medal of the City of Paris” (2001). Cyprien Katsaris is mentioned in the following works: The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklop ä die der Music (MGG), Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Harenberg Klaviermusikf ührer: 600 Werke von Barock bis zur Gegenwart.

More Photos

Source: Cyprien Katsaris Website (photos: Willy De Jong)
Contributed by
AryehOron (November 2006)

Cyprien Katsaris: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Cyprien Katsaris official website
Concerts Northwest: Cyprien Katsaris in Piano Recital at Benaroya
Piano Festival 2005 Faculty - Cyprien Katsaris (Oxford Philharmonia)

Cyprien Katsaris, Pianist (Maxima Artist Manafement)
Svensk Konsertdirektion AB: Cyprien Katsaris

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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