Born: May 5th, 1951
Country of origin: France
Cyprien Katsaris, the French-Cypriot pianist and composer, was born in Marseilles in 1951. He first began to play the piano in Cameroon where he spent his childhood, at the age of four, with Marie-Gabrielle Louwerse.
A graduate of the Paris Conservatoire where he studied piano with Aline van Barentzen, Monique de la Bruchollerie, and chamber music with René Leroy and Jean Hubeau, 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.
His major international career includes performances with the world’s greatest orchestras: The Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, The Philharmonia (London), The NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra... He has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Myung Whun Chung, Sir Simon Rattle, Mstslav Rostropovich, Charles Dutoit, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christoph von Dohnányi… and Karl Münchinger, who on the festive occasion of his farewell concert in 1986, with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, personally invited Mr. Katsaris to perform the Haydn D major Concerto.
Mr. 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 Beethoven/Liszt), Sony Classical, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG-RCA, Decca, Pavane, and now on his own label, PIANO 21.
In addition to the standard repertory, such as the complete Concertos by Mozart, recorded live and performed in Salzburg and Vienna with Yoon K. Lee and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, he has revived long lost works such as the Liszt/Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in the Hungarian style which he has recorded with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1992, the Japanese NHK TV produced with Cyprien Katsaris a thirteen-program series on Frédéric Chopin which included masterclasses and his own performance. On 17 October 1999, the New York concertgoers offered Mr. Katsaris a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall for his recital dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, performed on the day of his 150th death Anniversary. On 27 January 2006, the day of the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth, he was the soloist at the inaugural concert of the Mozart Orchestra Mannheim founded and conducted by Thomas Fey. In March 2006 Cyprien Katsaris was the first pianist ever to give masterclasses in Franz Liszt’s house in Weimar since Liszt, who taught there for the very last time in 1886, the year of his death. In August 2008, he was invited to give two concerts on the occasion of the Beijing Olympic Games at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. In addition to the world premier of a concerto for ten pianos and orchestra – China Jubilee – by the composer Cui Shiguang, he improvised on an ancient Greek melody, and on, inter alia, Chinese melodies, in tribute to the universality of the Olympic Games.
He 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). In addition he was appointed Artistic Director of the Echternach International Festival (Luxembourg) from 1977 to 2007.
Cyprien Katsaris is “Artist of UNESCO for Peace” (1997), “Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg” (2009), “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” (France 2000), and “Knight of Merit of Cameroon” (1977). He also received the “Vermeil Medal of the City of Paris” (2001). He is a member of ADAP, the Association of Artists for Peace.
- Home page: www.cyprienkatsaris.net