The French composer and organist, Thierry Escaich, began his musical studiers at the 'école de musique de Montreuil. He then entered Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique (CNSM) in Paris where he won eight first prizes: harmony, counterpoint, fugue, organ, organ improvisation, analysis, composition and orchestration.
Thierry Escaich plays a prominent role in the contemporary music creation. Considering the three facets of his art as bound together, he uses them to reflect his prolific inner world. As a composer he was first discovered in 1989, when he received the Blumenthal Prize from the Fondation franco-américaine Florence Blumenthal, and through his early works such as the saxophone concerto Le Chant des ténèbres (The Song of Darkness) or Ad ultimas laudes for mixed choir. To date he has written more than a hundred works which, with their rejection of sterile experimentation, their hedonistic echo and rhythmic fever, have attracted a wide audience. Other awards the Prix des Lycéens (2002), the Grand Prix de la Musique symphonique from the SACEM in 2004, and on three occasions, in 2003, 2006 and 2011, the Victoires de la Musique Composer of the Year award.
His music is often performed by the Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre de Bretagne and Orchestra National de Lyon, where he was composer in residence, as well as by prestigious international orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mariinsky Theater Orchestra or Orchestre de Paris. His music has been internationally acknowledged by such musicians as John Mark Ainsley, Iveta Apkalna, Bertrand Chamayou, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Christoph Eschenbach, Claire-Marie Le Guay, Olivier Latry, Éric Le Sage, Paul Meyer, Emmanuel Pahud, and Lothar Zagrosek, as well as the Wanderer and Dali Trios, the Ysaÿe, Ludwig and Voce Quartets, the Sequenza 9.3 and A Sei Voci vocal ensembles, the BBC Choir and Radio France’s Choir.
Composing largely for for the organ (solo pieces, chamber music, two concertos, La Barque Solaire (The Sun Boat) for organ and orchestra), Thierry Escaich is also open to all genres and forms, always investigating new universes of sound. His style ranges from the intimacy of Choral’s Dream (2003) for piano and organ and Scènes de bal for string quartet to vast frescos such as the Chaconne (2000) and Vertiges de la croix (Awe and Wonder at the Cross) (2004) for orchestra, Les Nuits hallucinées (The Hallucinated Nights) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (2008), and Le Dernier Évangile (The Last Gospel), an oratorio for double choir, organ and orchestra (1999). He has recently completed a violin concerto dedicated to David Grimal. Most recently, he wrote a ballet for the New York City Ballet which was world-premiered in New York City in May 2010.
Thierry Escaich has held the position of Professor of Composition and Improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire since 1992, where he has been awarded eight First Prizes. Since 1997 he has also been the organist for the St-Étienne-du-Mont church in Paris, succeeding Maurice Duruflé. He tours internationally as a concert organist, acclaimed everywhere for combining classic repertoire with his own compositions and improvisations. Recently he has appeared in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Tokyo, Berlin, Amsterdam, London (the Proms) Birmingham, Vienna (Konzerthaus and Musikverein), Budapest, Saint-Petersburg, Seville, and numerous French and international music festivals. His 2009-2010 season concerts included Helsinki, Munich, Hamburg, Bale, London, New York and Vancouver among other top music capitals.
A former Composer in Residence with the Orchestre National de Lille and the Orchestre de Bretagne, Thierry Escaich is now composer-in-residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon, a post he has held since 2007. His passion for cinema has led him to improvise on the piano and the organ, and to compose accompaniments for silent films such as Frank Borzage’s L’Heure suprême, commissioned by the Louvre in 1999.
His numerous recordings speak for themselves. As a performer he distinguished himself as an organist with Organ Spectacular (concert improvisations, 2008, Universal) and Tanz-Fantasie, organ and trumpet with Éric Aubier (2009, Indésens). As a composer his notable recordings include his Organ Concerto No. 1 (Orchestre philharmonique de Liège, Olivier Latry, 2002, the French Diapason d’or de l’année award), Lettres mêlées (Trio Wanderer, 2009, Universal), Miroir d’ombres (Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Orchestre national de Lille, 2007, Universal; Monde de la Musique magazine’s Choc de l’année award) and Exultet (vocal ensemble Sequenza 9.3, 2006, Universal). A new recording of orchestral pieces, with the Orchestre national de Lyon, the violinist David Grimal, the mezzosoprano Nora Gubisch and Thierry Escaich himself will be released in April 2011. All these recordings are released by Accord/Universal.