Michel Béroff

Pianist and Conductor (b.1950)

Michel Béroff is a French pianist with an unparalleled reputation; he has become an important figure of 20th century music, largely due to his wonderful sense of rhythm and strong, vivid playing.

Michel Béroff was born on May 9th 1950 in Epinal. His father, who was passionate about choral music, as well as Bartok, Prokofiev and Messiaen, introduced him to music. From a young age Michel Béroff attempted pieces by Bartok and Messiaen, he later went to the Conservatoire de Nancy, then to Paris for classes with Yvonne Loriod and Pierre Sancan

He was not only a remarkable interpreter of Messiaen and French piano music in his early career but also gave compelling performances of works by composers such as Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Mozart and even Igor Stravinsky, under the direction of great conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Claudio Abbado, Yutaka Sado, Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.

He had an active solo career, giving concerts internationally, but also played chamber music, collaborating with musicians such as Augustin Dumay, Pierre Amoyal, Barbara Hendricks, Martha Argerich and Marie-Josèphe Jude. As a gradual paralysis of his right hand put a halt to his career as a soloist, he shift his focus on concertos composed for the left hand and on orchestral conducting. After four years of rehabilitation he was gradually able to return to chamber music and began giving recitals as a soloist once more. 

Michel Béroff recorded exclusively with EMI for 20 years, producing recordings of the complete works for piano and orchestra of Liszt, Prokofiev and Stravinsky conducted by Kurt Masur and Seiji Ozawa. His recordings received the “Grand Prix du Disque” award five times. 

After giving a series of recitals of Claude Debussy’s piano works in Paris and Japan, Michel Béroff took on the role of editor-in-chief at Wiener Urtext editions, in 1998, to work on publishing new editions of Debussy’s Piano Music. 

He began his teaching career giving classes at Indiana University Bloomington (USA) in 1988. He has taught piano at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris since 1989. 

Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Michel Béroff

1967: Awarded 1st prize at the Olivier Messiaen International Competition in Royan 

1982: Recorded Bach’s Concertos for 2 pianos with Jean-Philippe Collard  

1989: Began teaching piano at the Conservatoire de Paris 

1997: Performed the complete piano work of Debussy in five concerts 

2000: Toured England and Spain with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur, and played in Greece and Paris with the Orchestre National de France conducted by Yutaka Sado. 

2006: Gave fifteen or so master classes in French music on NHK television.