Pierre Hantaï

French harpsichordist and conductor (Paris, 1964 - )

Disciple of Leonhardt, Pierre Hantaï has dedicated the same fervor to Bach's and his contemporaries' harpsichord music with absolute respect towards their historical context.

Pierre Hantaï developed an interest in music by listening to Stavioslav Richter’s interpretation of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. At the age of eleven, he began playing the piano and a year later, the harpsichord by taking Arthur Haas's private lessons for two years, followed by those of Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. He had a deep admiration for the latter.

He was then called upon to hold the continuo within the formation directed by Leonhardt, then those of Sigiswald Kuijken or Jordi Savall. He nevertheless abandoned these ensembles to devote his time to his instrument’s practice. He approached chamber music with his brothers Marc (flutist) and Jérôme (gambist). Together, they formed the core of what became the Concert français, an orchestral ensemble with variable geometry that he conducted from the harpsichord performing works by Bach or Mozart.

His rare discographic production is the result of meticulous technical work, in which the choices of the pieces, the instrument and the acoustics hold a predominant place. His predilection for short musical pieces led him to follow in the footsteps of English virginalists, Scarlatti's sonatas or Bach's Goldberg Variations, which he recorded twice (in 1992 and 2003). He now divides his time between recitals and chamber music with François Fernandez, Amandine Beyer, Christophe Coin and Hugo Reyne.

Six landmark dates in the life of Pierre Hantaï:

1977: Began his harpsichord apprenticeship

1983: Second place at the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition

1984: First prize in the Bruges International Chamber Music Competition

1985: Created the Concert Français (orchestral ensemble)

1990: Recorded his first album dedicated to Giles Farnaby.

2004: Conducted a remarkable concert of the Concert français at the Roque d'Anthéron Festival.