Cyprien Katsaris, the French-Cypriot pianist and composer, was born on 5 May 1951 in Marseilles. After early musical training in Cameroon, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Aline van Barentzen and Monique de la Bruchollerie, winning premiers prix for piano in 1969 and for chamber music (in the class of Jean Hubeau) in 1970. The same year he won the Prix Albert Roussel, and in 1974 he won first prize in the Cziffra Competition.
His international career was launched with performances conducted by Bernstein and Dorati, and he has performed with leading orchestras throughout the world.
Katsaris has recorded extensively for Teldec, Sony Classical, EMI, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, BMG-RCA, Decca, Pavane, and now on his own label, PIANO 21. He was the first pianist to record the complete Beethoven symphonies transcribed by Liszt (reissued by Warner Classics in 2006).
As well as performing a wealth of standard repertory, Cyprien Katsaris has recorded (as world premières) long-lost works, such as the Liszt/Tchaikovsky Concerto in the Hungrian style (with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra), Beethoven’s own piano arrangement of his ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, and Gustav Mahler’s original piano version of Das Lied von der Erde (with Mezzo Brigitte Fassbaender and Tenor Thomas Moser).
In addition to his activities as a soloist, he founded the “Katsaris Piano Quintet”, and their performances have received an enthusiastic response from both the press and audiences around the world.
In March 2006 Cyprien Katsaris became the first pianist to give masterclasses in Franz Liszt’s house in Weimar since Liszt, who taught there for the very last time in 1886, the year of his death. He has also conducted masterclasses around the world, including at the University of Toronto, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Arts Academy in Mexico, The Academy of Performing Arts in Hong-Kong, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In addition he was appointed Artistic Director of the Echternach International Festival (Luxembourg) from 1977 to 2007.
Oscar-winner director François Reichenbach and Claude Chabrol have made films of Cyprien Katsaris in live concert performances. In 1992, Japanese NHK TV produced with Cyprien Katsaris a thirteen-program series on Frédéric Chopin, which included masterclasses and performances by Katsaris. In October 1999, New York concertgoers offered him a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall for his recital dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, performed on the day of the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death. This concert was recorded (audio and video) and has been issued on the PIANO 21 label.
On 27 January 2006, the day of the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth, he was the soloist at the inaugural concert of the Mozart Orchestra Mannheim founded and conducted by Thomas Fey. In August 2008, he was invited to give two concerts on the occasion of the Beijing Olympic Games at the National Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the world premiere of a concerto for ten pianos and orchestra – China Jubilee – by the composer Cui Shiguang, he improvised on Chinese and ancient Greek melodies, in tribute to the universality of the Olympic Games.
Cyprien Katsaris has been a member of the jury for international piano competitions around the world, including the International Chopin Piano Compeition, the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, the Vendôme Prize, the Marguerite Long–Jacques Thibaud Competition, the International Beethoven Piano Competition, the International Piano Competition “Giorgos Thymis”, and the International Scriabin Piano Competition.
Cyprien Katsaris’s work has been honoured with many awards, including UNESCO Artist for Peace (1997), Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (2009) and Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (France 2000). He also received the Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris (2001) and the Nemitsas Prize (Cyprus, 2011). He is a member of ADAP, the Association of Artists for Peace.
Puskas International represents Cyprien Katsaris in the United Kingdom.