The American-born pianist, David Lively, studied in the USA and in France at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris where he now resides, in addition acquiring French citizenship. Prize-winner in numerous international competitions, including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud where he met Claudio Arrau, to become one of his rare pupils, the Queen Elisabeth and the Tchaikowsky where he won the special prize for contemporary music, David Lively has also been awarded the Dino Ciani Prize of the Scala of Milan in 1977.
David Lively began his career at 14 when he performed Khatchaturian's virtuoso Piano Concerto with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Lorin Maazel subsequently invited him to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra which resulted in engagements with ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Berliner Symphoniker, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France in collaboration with such prestigious conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Erich Leinsdorf, Lovro von Matacic, Kurt Sanderling, Sergiu Comissiona, Ferdinand Leitner, Walter Weller, Leonard Slatkin, Jesús López-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, etc. An exceptionally gifted artist, David Lively has acquired over eighty concertos in his repertoire, of which he has recorded over ten for labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Koch Schwann and Marco Polo.
Especially interested in the American heritage of the 20th century, David Lively focused particularly on the masterpieces of Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland, with whom he studied them personally and consequently recorded. Meanwhile, his enthusiasm for such neglected masterpieces such as Ferruccio Busoni's and Wilhelm Furtwängler's monumental Piano Concertos led to recordings of both, the one of Wilhelm Furtwängler’s being the first of the unabridged and definitive version. This curiosity has led to his recent recording of Joseph Marx's two monumental piano concertos of the same period (a premiere recording for ‘Castelli Romani’). He has also devoted his attention to contemporary production, having given the European premiere of Riverrun by Takemitsu with conductor Kent Nagano, French premiere of 90+ for piano solo by Elliott Carter as well as Cendres by Kaija Saariaho and a work by Magnus Lindberg, as well as the world premiere of the chamber concerto Cries by William Blank, written especially for him, and Michael Travlos’ Double Concerto with the Moscow Radio Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedosseyev. William Blank's upcoming Piano Concerto, commissioned by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva has been written expressly for him. It will be performed with Dennis Russell Davies conducting.
The Saint Lizier Festival in the French Pyrenees, which David Lively directs every summer, reveals his devotion to the organisation and performance of numerous chamber music concerts together with artists such as the Melos and Borodin Quartets, violinists Gil Shaham, Myriam Fried, Augustin Dumay and pianists Martha Argerich, Eugene Istomin, Jörg Demus, amongst many others.
Having taught at the National Superior Music Conservatoire of Paris, David Lively has also been invited to give master classes at the Hochschule in Vienna, the Royal Scottish Academy of Glasgow and the Chapelle Royale in Belgium. From 1998 to 2001, he was in charge of one of the concert pianists classes at the University of Music in Vienna. He is also regularly invited on international juries for competitions such as the Queen Elisabeth and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud.
A total command of the keyboard allied with an insatiable curiosity allow David Lively to master all styles from the Renaissance to music of today and to perform such monuments as J.S. Bach's entire Art of the Fugue (BWV 1080). His authoritative reputation led to his post as Dean of Exams at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris where he also teaches a class of post-graduate study.
During the last three years devoted particularly to teaching, David Lively has given great consideration to the role of the keyboard in the history of music. This has led to a redefinition of his role as virtuoso and the development of several unique projects. One of these is the rediscovery of the Romantic Chamber Concerto, a remarkably well developed genre in the early 19th century particularly in France. Study of this repertoire has led to the re-edition and performance of several works, better known in their more amplified versions, and the discovery of little-known or only recently republished works. This project is offered as well on historic Romantic instruments. David Lively is proposing programmes to discover this repertoire with the accompaniment of string quintets playing on period instruments. His current recording project consists precisely of the rehabilitation of the historic performances of Frédéric Chopin’s six works for piano and orchestra in their original chamber version on period instruments with the Terpsycordes Quartet for the Ricercar label.
Another innovative project of great potential is the new technique Prismorphism comprising a new approach to interpretive performing developed by David Lively. Following an installation-performance in collaboration with his colleague Jean-Baptiste Barriere, composer and former research director at IRCAM, David Lively is working on the development of electronic interpretation. This installation-performance, involving synthesizer and computer programming, is conceived for realisation in inspiring architectural sites permitting spatial sonic effects combined with visual projection of Impressionistic masterpieces. An important objective of this work is the use of these new techniques to attract and convince a larger and more general audience by offering them an original interactive listening participation. These musical adventures show David Lively to be on the cutting edge of musical performance. His recent release of Philippe Boesmans’s complete works for piano solo on Cypres label was nominated for the Octaves de la Musique last June..