Abu Dhabi: Genius, flair and unmatched excellence of Johann Sebastian Bach will be paired with the brilliance of some of the 21st century’s finest pianists when David Fray and Friends open the ninth season of Abu Dhabi Classics, presented by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and brought to you by du Live, with an exclusive performance of Bach’s Concertos 2, 3 and 4 at Cultural Foundation on 28 January 2020.
A piano concerto is a melodious conversation between an orchestra and the piano(s) and is celebrated by aficionados as a truly special experience. As the most influential and prestigious classical music programme in the Middle East, featuring a world-renowned line-up of talent, Abu Dhabi Classics 2020 will host Fray, renowned as the ‘the most original Bach player of his generation’, along with three other accomplished pianists – Emmanuel Christien, Audrey Vigoureux, and Jacques Rouvier.
The acclaimed quartet will take the audience on a spellbinding journey to the origins of modern classical music, complemented by the exceptional Geneva Chamber Orchestra.
Headlining this truly special musical evening is 38-year-old French musician Fray, one of the most eminent pianists in the world today. Born in the small town of Tarbes in the South of France, renowned for producing pianists of repute including the brilliant Cecile Ousset, widely known for her interpretations of Debussy and Ravel, Fray has collaborated with leading orchestras and distinguished conductors worldwide.
Fray is especially known for his love for Germany’s musical traditions, the result of parents who were German teachers and adored all things, German. It is no surprise then, that Fray considers German pianist Wilhelm Kempff, considered to be one of the finest exponents of the renowned Germanic tradition during the 20th century, as his greatest idol.
Having been named ‘Newcomer of the Year 2008’ by the BBC Music Magazine, Fray’s exhaustive list of accomplishments includes the eminent ‘Revelation Classique’ honour, the ‘Jeune Soliste de l’Annee’, and a Diploma for Outstanding Merit awarded by the Hamamatsu Competition. Fray’s signature style of playing, sitting hunched over the keys on a chair instead of a regular piano stool, has earned him a raft of accolades with German magazine Der Spiegel calling him ‘the most inspired Bach player of his generation’.
Accompanying Fray on stage, Christien, is one of France’s most diverse young musicians. Having honed his craft at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance, Paris (CNSMDP), he holds a Diploma de Formation Superieure with a unanimous jury distinction, a rare decoration for someone so young.
Vigoureux, another graduate of the hallowed CNSMDP and the winner of the Adolph Neumann prize in 2004, will also be joining Fray and Christien. Vigoureux is a prolific collaborator who has performed with some of Europe’s most prestigious orchestras and has participated in the creation of musical fusions straddling different genres.
Rounding off the high-profile quartet is 73-year-old Rouvier. The world-renowned pianist and teacher can count Fray, Helene Grimaud, David Kadouche and Arcadi Volodos amongst many other students.
Completing the line-up for a memorable evening is the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, which will take to the stage with its full complement of 37 musicians. The orchestra is known for working closely with a range of acclaimed choirs, including Le Motet, Le Chant Sacre, La Psallette, and Le Cercle Bach de Geneve, among others, and has earned a reputation as an ambitious and original orchestra.