Cyprien Katsaris

French-Cypriot pianist (1951, Marseille)

Eclectic pianist rewarded with many prizes, Cyprien Katsaris distinguishes himself with frequent improvisations on stage, as the great romantics pianists used to do.

Cyprien Katsaris started his musical education in Cameroun, where he spent his childhood, when he was only four years old. In 1959, his family moved to Paris. Six years later, he joined the Paris Conservatoire and studied piano with Aline Van Barentzen and Monique de la Bruchollerie. In 1969 he won the first prize in piano and added to that reward another first prize the following year in chamber music. Winner of many competitions, Cyprien Katsaris gave his first concert on the 8th of May 1966 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. For that occasion he interpreted Hungarian Fantasy by Liszt with the Orchestre Symphonique d’Île-de-France under the baton of René-Pierre Chouteau.

He went on with his soloist career in the whole world, alongside prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle of Dresden, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande… And did so under the conducting of the greatest: Leonard Bernstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Simon Rattle, Myung Whun Chung, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Antal Doráti, Ivan Fischer, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Kent Nagano, James Conlon, Sir Charles Mackerras, Rudolf Barshai, Sandor Végh, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam.

His pianistic repertoire is as wide as can be: Cyprien Katsaris plays at each of his concerts pieces or composers that are little known. As an example he exhumed the Concerto in the Hungarian Style of Liszt. Later, he recorded that piece conducted by Eugène Ormandy. Carried by his desire to record an album of a confidential repertoire, he started his own label in 2001 Piano 21 and thus offered himself a complete artistic freedom.

Six landmark dates in the life of Cyprien Katsaris

1965: joined the Paris Conservatoire.
1974: won the first prize at the Concours International Cziffra.
1986: for his farewell concert, Karl Münchinger invited him to play the Concerto in D major of Haydn with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester.
2000: received the Ordre de Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
2001: started his own label, Piano 21.
2014: gave the very first concert of the Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris).

Radio France Documentation biography, September 2015