A powerful source
Most of my knowledge of the piano repertoire comes from the book ‘Piano Music’ by Guy Sacre, which has been my companion in musical exploration since I was 12. At first, this book seems to be an encyclopedia of the piano repertoire, but it is infinitely more. A sharing of passion for music, for the piano, making connections with literature or painting.
Following this book, and its extraordinarily vivid descriptions, I came across some names I had never seen before: Alkan, Medtner, Lyapunov, Dohnanyi, MacDowell and many more. I discovered those composers simultaneously as I did Chopin or Beethoven, there was no real hierarchy. The first piece I gave a try at the age of 13, was the Symphony for solo piano by Alkan. Over the years, the relationship with the book has grown into a deep friendship with its author.
‘The young pianist established himself with a form of discretion unusual among young artists seeking notoriety. A talent unanimously praised by his peers.’Le Monde
Context opens up everything
Building a concert programme is like mental gymnastics, there are so many parameters to harmonize. It is always about balance – of the specific characters of the works, their possible and attractive coherence.
There is also a balance between the known and the unknown. I realize, being a listener too, that it is important at the concert to have moments when you ‘recognize’ the music.
As an example, I created a programme about the 1920’s (jazz, light music, chansons, etc.). It makes sense, historically, to surround that programme by dramatic pieces. This was a period of carelessness and prosperity between two crises; the First World War and the financial crash. The concert tells this ‘story’, one which is not exclusively one-sided.
My wife and I manage a small hall in Germany, called Sinngewimmel. We create artistic events for people who, regardless of age or social differences, are united by a sense of curiosity, a wish to discover and a need for beauty. Art, theatre, children’s concerts, collaborations with refugees – there is not limit to the possibilities when creative people come together.