Bertrand Chamayou is one of today's most strikingly brilliant pianists, recognised for his revelatory performances at once powerfully virtuosic, imaginative and breathtakingly beautiful.
Heralded for his masterful conviction and insightful musicianship across a vast repertoire, the French pianist performs at the highest level on the international music scene. He is recognised as a leading interpreter of French repertoire, shining a new light on familiar as well as lesser known works, while possessing an equally driving curiosity and deep passion for new music. He has worked with composers including Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, György Kurtág, Thomas Adès and Michael Jarrell.
In 2019 Bertrand Chamayou won the Gramophone Awards for Best Concerto and overall Recording of the Year for his album of Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos No. 2 and 5 with Orchestre national de France and Emmanuel Krivine. His award-winning discography also includes Ravel's complete works for piano (ECHO Klassik award) and Liszt's complete Années de pèlerinage, recorded for Naïve (Choc de Classica; Diapason d'Or de l'année and Album of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012). He is an exclusive recording artist for Erato.
Chamayou appears regularly at the world's most prestigious concert halls and festivals, such as Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Lincoln Center New York, Philharmonie de Paris, Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Southbank Centre's International Piano Series, as well as Mostly Mozart in New York, Beethovenfest Bonn, Lucerne Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron, Edinburgh International Festival and Rheingau Musik Festival.
He has undertaken several major recitals of substantial bodies of work, most memorably the complete piano œuvre of Ravel, Liszt's Etudes and Années de pèlerinage, and Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus. Chamayou also enjoys high profile artist residencies in his name at Radio France, Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
‘His musically insightful, technically flawless playing can be confused with no-one else's.' – International Record Review
Following on from a number of international debuts over the past year, 2019-20 promises another rich concert season, including performances at Munich Gasteig, London's Wigmore Hall, Paris Philharmonie, Tonhalle Zurich, Gothenburg, Detroit and Luzern. He also undertakes diverse projects at Strasbourg's Musica festival including works by John Cage for prepared piano with dancer Élodie Sicard. Chamayou will also make his debut with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, tour with Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, and appear as artistic director and on the jury of the Long Thibaud Crespin Competition 2019.
Bertrand Chamayou performs with the world's finest orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Leipzig's Gewandhausorchester, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Wiener Symphoniker, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestre Zurich, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Bamberg Symphoniker and NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, among many others. He has had the privilege of sharing the stage with maestros Pierre Boulez and Sir Neville Marriner and counts among his regular partners at the podium Semyon Bychkov, Mikko Franck, Philippe Herreweghe, Philippe Jordan, François-Xavier Roth, Tugan Sokhiev, Stéphane Denève and Emmanuel Krivine.
A passionate chamber musician, Bertrand Chamayou often performs with partners such as cellist Sol Gabetta, violinists Vilde Frang and Renaud Capuçon, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and clarinetist Sabine Meyer.
Bertrand Chamayou was born in Toulouse and makes his home in Paris. He has received France's prestigious Victoires de la Musique Classique prize on four separate occasions and in 2015 was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.
The sixteen lullabies – or berceuses – that Bertrand Chamayou has chosen for Good Night! form a captivatingly varied album. Embracing music from the Romantic era to the present day, the French pianist has shaped his programme with care and imagination. Miniatures by masters like Chopin, Liszt, Grieg and Brahms (whose archetypal lullaby is heard here in Max Reger's transcription) sit beside rarer treasures by, among others, Lyapunov, Alkan, Bonis and Lachenmann, and a specially commissioned piece by the contemporary composer Bryce Dessner. It makes a satisfying recital while providing individual items to enrich digital playlists.
The French pianist Bertrand Chamayou admits he's a night owl. So it's no surprise that his new album, Good Night!, is devoted to those mysterious nocturnal realms just before sleep arrives. Chamayou explores dusty corners of the repertoire to find some obscure lullabies, including one from the neglected 19th century female French composer Mélanie Bonis. There's a brand new piece on the album too, written by Bryce Dessner, a member of the band The National. It's a lovely, simple lullaby he wrote for his son, Octave. Warning, this just may help you drift off ... (So much better than Ambien!) - Tom Huizenga
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Embracing music from the Romantic era to the present day, the French pianist has shaped his program with care and imagination. Miniatures by masters like Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, and Brahms sit beside rarer treasures and a specially commissioned piece by the contemporary composer Bryce Dessner. "I've always loved the lullaby or berceuse as a genre because I'm an insomniac," explains Chamayou, who is also father to two young children. "There is that special moment as you are falling asleep – or not – and there are lots of things going on in your head. You experience all kinds of emotions, from comfort and reassurance to anxiety. The lullaby's place is halfway between dream and reality."
For October 12 2020, the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release' is Bertrand Chamayou - Good Night!
As you can see from the pieces listed above, this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter collection of cradle songs or what are commonly known as "lullabies". Pianist Bertrand Chamayou looked far and wide to curate this unusual assortment of soporific piano pieces, which he himself likened to a treasure hunt. Besides the ubiquitous offerings from Brahms and Chopin, Chamayou goes as far afield as to include the nightmare inducing 1963 Wiegenmusik by Helmut Lachenmann and the world premiere recording of Bryce Dessner's Song for Octave composed in 2020, a piece very much in the same static vein as Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel. Bertrand Chamayou's intent is to capture the elusive, oddly emotive state we go through as we fall asleep. His playing is always tender, and when the music's momentum allows, projects a gently "rocking" motion. The audio recording itself was recorded in Dolby Atmos, using multiple microphones, which gives you the impression of being swaddled in a warm blanket of sound.
Leos Janacek: Dobrou noc! (Good night! from On an Overgrown Path)
Franz Liszt: Wiegenlied S198 (Cradle Song)
Sergei Lyapunov: A Doll's Lullaby (from 6 Easy Pieces)
Frédéric Chopin: Berceuse Op. 57
Sergei Lyapunov: Lullaby (from 12 Transcendental Etudes)
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Rag Doll (from The Baby's Family)
Mel Bonis: La Toute Petite s'endort (The Little Girl Falls Asleep)
Edvard Grieg: Vuggevise (Lullaby from 8 Lyric Pieces Op.38)
Bryce Dessner: Song for Octave (World Premiere Recording)*
Ferruccio Busoni: Berceuse BV 252
Franz Liszt: Berceuse S174
Helmut Lachenmann: Wiegenmusik (Cradle Music)
Johannes Brahms: Wiegenlied (Lullaby)(transcr. Max Reger)
Bohuslav Martinu: Ukolébavka (Lullaby)
Mily Balakirev: Lullaby
Charles-Valentin Alkan: J'étais endormie, mais mon coeur veillait.. (I slept, but my heart was awake...)
I highly recommend this unusual collection of piano pieces, especially if you want to journey down an overgrown path (pun intended). Best I stop writing now before I fall asl....
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