Cyprien Katsaris – France, Cyprus
Cyprien Katsaris, the French-Cypriot pianist and composer, was born in Marseilles in 1951. He graduated from the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied piano with Aline van Barentzen and Monique de la Bruchollerie. He has won the International Young Interpreters Rostrum-UNESCO (Bratislava 1977), the First Prize in the International Cziffra Competition (Versailles 1974) and 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, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Philharmonia (London), NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Beijing Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Myung Whun Chung, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Simon Rattle, Antal Doráti, Mstislav 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 Katsaris to perform Haydn’s Concerto in D Major. Katsaris has recorded extensively for Teldec – winning the Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw 1985; Grand Prix du Disque Franz Liszt, Budapest 1984 and 1989; British Music Retailers Association’s Award 1986; Record of the Year 1984, Germany, for the 9th Symphony of Beethoven/Liszt – as well as making recordings for Sony Classical, EMI, Warner Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG/RCA, Decca, Pavane, and now on his own label, PIANO 21. In addition to the standard repertoire, such as the complete concertos by Mozart, recorded live and performed in Salzburg and Vienna with Yoon K. Lee and the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, Katsaris has revived long lost works such as the Liszt/Tchaikovsky Concerto in the Hungarian Style, which he recorded with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1992, the Japanese NHK TV worked with Katsaris to produce a 13-episode series on Frédéric Chopin which included masterclasses and his own performances. On 17 October 1999, New York concertgoers gave Katsaris a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall for his recital dedicated to Chopin, performed on the 150th anniversary of his death. On 27 January 2006, the day of the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth, Katsaris was the soloist at the inaugural concert of the Mozart Orchestra Mannheim founded and conducted by Thomas Fey. In March 2006, Katsaris was the first pianist to give masterclasses in Franz Liszt’s house in Weimar since the composer himself, who taught there for the last time in 1886, the year of his death. In August 2008, Katsaris was invited to give two concerts on the occasion of the Beijing Olympic Games at the National Center for the Performing Arts. On 10 July 2014, he performed in the first concert held at La Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Cyprien Katsaris has been named an Artist of UNESCO for Peace (1997), Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (2009) and Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France 2000). He also received the Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris (2001) and the Nemitsas Prize (Cyprus, 2011).