Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?
I chose to play the piano after I heard a friend playing a few notes. It seemed only natural that I should try the instrument and start playing. After a couple of years of private teaching, I entered the Conservatory of Nice, on the French Riviera, where I was born. When I turned 14, I entered the Paris National Conservatory. It was at this time that I considered becoming a professional someday…
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
The person who has influenced me most these past ten years is the great pianist Maria Joao Pires. I had the chance to work with her when she lived in Portugal giving workshops there. Our musical collaboration evolved over the years and we even played together sometimes, 4 hands or 2 pianos. Both as a musician and as a person she remains a great source of inspiration.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
To work without a manager and do everything by myself!
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I’m very pleased with the reactions I have received so far for my last recording, dedicated to “BACH and his sons”. It was particularly interesting to discover the music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel or Johann Christian Bach and make this family reunion happen, together with their father’s music.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I play a lot of French music… Maybe being a French pianist and living in Paris makes me feel closer to this repertoire and to the emotions and sensitivity it requires…
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
The recording projects I have help me toc hoose what I’m going to play next season. Sometimes I get special requests from festivals or orchestras asking me to perform pieces that I have dreamt about but never performed before which is particularly exciting.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I played once in Polynesia, on an Island named Moorea. The concert took place in a beautiful resort in the countryside above the sea. The stage looked out onto the Pacific and from the piano I had an incredible view. When the concert started, the sun was setting…. I think this place instantly became my favourite venue in the world!
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
To perform: Bach/Busoni ‘Chaconne’ and Debussy ‘Clair de Lune’
To listen to: Rachmaninov 3rd Concerto and Schubert Sonata No. 21 D.960
Who are your favourite musicians?
Radu Lupu, Jacqueline Du Pré, Samson François
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Sharing the stage with Maria Joao Pires performing Mozart Concerto for 2 pianos in Paris, Salle Pleyel, in November 2010.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I think one of the most important things in music is to keep true tothe score, in order to discover what is not written on the score!
I would also encourage younger musicians to let the music come from their entire body, not only from their fingers and their head…
What are you working on at the moment?
Mozart Concerto for 3 pianos, with the Orchestre de Paris.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I have absolutely no idea… And I like it !
What is your most treasured possession?
My son Matteo! But he’s not really my possession, is he ??
What do you enjoy doing most, when not playing the piano?
Watching tennis matches on tv… And also playing myself!
David Bismuth gives a recital of works by Fauré, Franck, Alkan, Chaminade and Saint-Saëns at the Institut français, South Kensington on Sunday 6 April, 12 noon as part of the It’s all About Piano! festival