„The new Bechstein concert grand is one of those wonderful instruments that allows the pianist even better scope for self-expression across the entire range of musical styles from the 17th Century right up to the present day.”
Cyprien Katsaris is a French pianist and composer of Cypriot descend who was born in Marseilles on 5 May 1951. He first performed in public on 8 May 1966 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris as a “knight” of a young performer competition entitled “The Kingdom of Music”. He went on to win prizes in the following competitions: Tribune internationale des jeunes interprètes UNESCO (Bratislava 1977), Concours international Cziffra (Versailles 1974), Prix de la Fondation Albert-Roussel (Paris 1970) and Prix de la Fondation Alex de Vries (Antwerp 1972). Katsaris has performed with the world’s greatest orchestras (Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Deutsches Symphonieorchester, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam), playing under such outstanding conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Ivan Fischer, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, Sir Charles Mackerras, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Dmitri Kitajenko.
In addition to his solo career, he founded the Katsaris Piano Quintet, an ensemble that has received a very enthusiastic response from both the press and audiences in Europe, Japan and the Americas. Cyprien Katsaris has recorded on labels such as Teldec (works by Liszt and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw 1985), Sony Classical, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG-RCA, Decca and Pavane, as well as on his own label, Piano 21. His discography includes solo piano works by the greatest composers and works for the piano and orchestra by Bach, Liszt, Brahms and Mozart recorded live in Salzburg and Vienna. Two famous film directors, Claude Chabrol and Oscar-winner François Reichenbach, have made films of Cyprien Katsaris in concert. A member of the jury for various Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven international competitions, Katsaris has also conducted masterclasses in New York City, Toronto, Mexico City, The Hague and Salzburg’s Mozarteum.
Photo: © Carole Bellaïche
Cyprien Katsaris: Papaïoannou, Constantinidis & Levidis Melism
Cyprien Katsaris, always on a journey of musical discovery, returns on his new album with twentieth-century music from Greece. The 24 impressionistic Préludes by Yannis Papaïoannou are excellent discoveries, from which Katsaris, according to ResMusica, "extracts the full flavor by playing a Bechstein with golden yet silky timbres." But he also shines in the lyrical composition "8 Dances des Iles grecques" by Yannis Constantinidis and performs it with great spirit. Finally, the album features Dimitrios Levidis' "First Greek Romantic Sonata", an ambitious piece that follows and interconnects many musical directions. As always elegant and with a great sense for voice leading and quality of sound, this album by maestro Katsaris is extremely worth listening to!
The album was recorded on a C. Bechstein concert grand D282 at the Saint-Marcel Evangelical Church, Paris, in July and August 2020 for the Melism label.
Cyprien Katsaris: Saint-Saëns Piano21
Cyprien Katsaris has often shown himself to be a master of transcriptions. To mark the centenary of the death of composer Camille Saint-Saëns, Cyprien Katsaris presents works by this versatile composer on his latest CD. The album begins with a transcription of Carnival of the Animals followed by the Hymn to Victor Hugo, the Bacchanale from his opera Samson et Dalila, and arrangements of the complete Organ Symphony and 2nd Piano Concerto. A truly monumental album and a colorful tribute to Saint-Saëns' work.
The final work on the album, the film score for L'Assassinat du duc de Guise, is particularly fascinating. It is the first film score in history ever commissioned by a composer. And Saint-Saëns was only justifiably pleased with his work: dramatically, the six-part suite meanders from one climax to the next, and Cyprien Katsaris exudes so much joy in playing and having fun with the humor of this lively music, despite the incredible number of notes.
The album was recorded in the spring of 2020 and January 2021 at the Église Évangélique Saint-Marcel in Paris on a C. Bechstein concert grand D282 for the Piano21 label.
Cyprien Katsaris: Wahlverwandtschaften - Elective Affinities
Cyprien Katsaris recorded a new CD on a C. Bechstein grand piano D 282. Just like "Elective Affinities", Goethe’s celebrated novel, the theme of this CD brings together several pieces from different eras and cultural backgrounds. Katsaris performs original compositions for piano, transcriptions and two own pieces, dedicated to Chopin and Rachmaninov.
Cyprien Katsaris writes in the booklet text of his CD: "The new Bechstein concert grand is one of those wonderful instruments that allows the pianist even better scope for self-expression across the entire range of musical styles from the 17th Century right up to the present day, which is why the programme for this recording is so diverse. … I would only add that I have also identified a huge affinity with the Bechstein concert grand. For the record, so to speak, I used a Bechstein concert grand in the 1980s for five CDs I made with Teldec."
Stanisław Moniuszko – Opera Songs for Piano Piano 21
On Stanisław Moniuszko – Opera Songs for Piano, French-Cypriot pianist and composer Cyprien Katsaris devotes himself to the Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), who has primarily become famous for writing operas, operettas, masses and songs but is barely known for his contribution in piano music. As stated by Katsaris in the liner notes: „Although his piano output is small in quantity, the quality of each piece – all of them exquisite miniatures – is wonderful: we are dealing here with pure gems.“ In addition to these pure piano compositions such as polkas, nocturnes, mazurkas, trifles and villanellas, the album includes several piano transcriptions from Moniuszko songs and operas like Halka, The Raftsman or The Haunted Manor, partly transcribed by Moniuszko himself. The album has been recorded in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, Warsaw, on a C. Bechstein D 282 in March 2019.