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Pianist Bertrand Chamayou

Bertrand Chamayou: 2023/24 Artist Portrait

Pianist Bertrand Chamayou introduces his 2023/24 Artist Portrait series, at the Barbican and LSO St Luke’s.


By Bertrand Chamayou

5-minute read

Pianist Bertrand Chamayou takes centre stage as the focus of this year’s LSO Artist Portrait. He joins the Orchestra for two contrasting piano concertos, and curates four chamber music recitals at LSO St Luke’s. Here he tells us what we can expect.

I like to do so many different things, and to explore so many different aspects of music and a huge range of repertoire. To have this period of concerts in London, and to be able to introduce people to a journey through different music – I really like this idea.

Unsuk Chin Piano Concerto

Thursday 14 March 7pm, Barbican, with François-Xavier Roth

‘I’m pretty close to Unsuk Chin, and I’ve played a lot of her piano music, though I’ve actually never played this Concerto before. I’ve believed for a long time that she is one of today’s major composers, and I’m very pleased that I have got to know her, and that we have such a close relationship. Unsuk Chin was a favourite pupil of György Ligeti. A little bit like Ligeti, she works in illusions about rhythms and harmony – you get the impression that her music is like a gigantic puzzle, and very playful in a way, but sometimes quite dark too.

This Piano Concerto is really a masterpiece, one of the best piano concertos written in recent years. There is a slow movement in the middle of the Concerto which is very virtuosic. The details in the orchestration or so amazingly done – there is always something that blows your mind as you listen to what is going on there, there and there. It’s very impressive, the way that it is done. She’s truly a magician of the orchestra. This magical aspect of music has always been something that I was searching for, without knowing it. I’m drawn to magic tricks.

Maurice Ravel Piano Concerto in G

Thursday 18 April 7pm, Barbican, with Sir Antonio Pappano

Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G is probably the piece that I’ve played most in my life. But it is probably the first time I have played it in London. I’ve explored Ravel a lot in the past. I’ve recorded all of his solo music, played his concertos a lot, and all of his chamber music. Since my childhood he’s probably the main composer whose music I have worked with, and his music has accompanied me all through my life – I’m actually now artistic director of a festival of Ravel in the south of France, where he was born.

Chamber Music with BBC Radio 3

Selected Thursday and Fridays 1pm, February to April, LSO St Luke’s

Chamber music has always been in my life. When I started to play the piano, I had a few friends who were playing violin or clarinet, so early on I accompanied others. As a teenager especially, I probably played more chamber music than solo music, because I loved the experience of sharing music with others. When I was 19 or 20, I remember I was playing so much chamber music that I didn’t think I would ever become a soloist. I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just enjoying playing with others.

With this chamber music series at LSO St Luke’s, I will try to give an echo of the two concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican. I am preparing a recital including pieces by Ravel and Unsuk Chin, but I will also work on a tribute to Erik Satie through the eyes of John Cage. Satie had a strong influence on music of the 20th century, and especially John Cage. They never met, but there is a close relationship between the two, and this is what I want to show with this programme.

Artist Portrait Concerts