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Grande Fantaisie sur Zorba - une Rhapsodie Grecque

Grande Fantaisie sur Zorba - une Rhapsodie Grecque

Cyprien Katsaris | Mikis Theodorakis

Label: Piano 21
Format: CD
Barcode: 3760051450649
barcode
Catalog number: P21 057
Releasedate: 12-01-18
- Composed by Cyprien Katsaris and Mikis Theodorakis

- World Premiere Recordings
In the early 80s I started thinking about composing a piano work of about 12/14-minutes based on the soundtrack of the movie Zorba the Greek somewhat in the style of what Franz Liszt had done with his popular Hungarian Rhapsodies. In the 90s I received from the hands of Theodorakis the music score of his ballet Zorba which had been commissioned by the Verona Festival in Italy and in which he also included additional music after having spent 8 months on the new manuscript at his Paris flat. I read carefully that new score and was so impressed by its musical quality that I intended to expand on my first idea. Completed in January 2007, this piano composition finally lasts 53 minutes and I intend to dedicate it to the Greek People.

However, the piece is exceptionally difficult to learn and to perform: every time I opened my manuscript to start working on it, I found myself in no time having to leave it once more. In the spring of 2017 I managed at last to complete this project. In addition, I also recorded a Spontaneous Improvisation on some of the most popular songs of Theodorakis which lasts about 15 minutes and I added a few of his original piano pieces in order to present several aspects of his musical genius.

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: Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Philharmonia (London), NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, 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 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 Retailers 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 Center 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. On 10 July 2014 Cyprien Katsaris performed in the first concert at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

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), Beethoven (Bonn 2005), Giorgos Thymis (Thessaloniki 2011) and Scriabin (Moscow 2012). 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) and “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” (France 2000). He also received the “Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris” (2001) and the “Nemitsas Prize” (Cyprus, 2011). He is a member of ADAP, the Association of Artists for Peace, and Honorary President of “Lisztomanias International”.