Piano

Abdel Rahman El Bacha

Born in Beirut in 1958, Abdel Rahman El Bacha arrived in France at a very early age, where he perfected his skills at the age of sixteen in Pierre Sancan's class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris. He graduated with four first prizes (piano, chamber music, harmony and counterpoint).

 

Since the dazzling revelation of his talent at the Queen Elisabeth Competition of Belgium in 1978, which he won unanimously, and after a period of pause to develop his repertoire, he has performed in the most prestigious concert halls in Europe and the world. He plays with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the NHK in Tokyo.

Since his first disc devoted to the early works of Prokofiev, which won the Grand Prix of the Charles Cros Academy, his discography includes recordings devoted to Bach, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Ravel recorded by Forlane, Fuga Libera, Triton, Mirare. Among his recent albums: the complete piano works of Ravel and the two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach on Octavia Records, the complete 32 Beethoven piano sonatas on Mirare. Abdel Rahman El Bacha is also a composer, his works are now published by Delatour Editions. His CD "Arabesques" - a recording of his piano compositions - will be released by Mirare in 2018.

Abdel Rahman El Bacha has held dual French-Lebanese nationality since 1981. In 1998, the Minister of Culture of the French Republic awarded him the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres; in 2002, the President of the Lebanese Republic awarded him the Medal of the Order of Merit, the highest decoration of his native country; and in February 2019, the International University of Louvain awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Reviews

Classiqueenprovence 16/08/2020 : Abdel Rahman El Bacha at La Roque d'Anthéron - The secret soul of Chopin revealed by Abdel Rahman El Bacha
The pianist, a specialist of Chopin as much as of Beethoven, knows the work in its most intimate aspects. Let us remember his complete Chopin works in chronological order of composition, which remains a reference.
Abdel Rahman El Bacha leaves nothing to chance, he is always in search of meaning. His Chopin unfolds a part of his life with the notes and works chosen that evening. The luminous and simple touch of the pianist transforms these pieces into moments of magic, an inner light springs from his playing that is both sensitive and virtuoso. The spectators are captivated. Abdel Rahman El Bacha is a generous man, he offers us an almost hypnotic interpretation of the Lullaby in D flat major by the same composer, a very nice way to end this unforgettable evening.  Article

"We saw in La Roque d'Anthéron 16/08/2020: El Bacha lives his Chopin as he breathes"
First of all, we will salute the almost geometrical construction of the Chopin program proposed by Abdel Rahman El Bacha. ... A perfect balance that seems to give the recital an impression of roundness. A Beethoven specialist, the pianist also knows Chopin from the inside out. .... It should be noted that Abdel Rahman El Bacha, himself a musician, lives his Chopin as he breathes. A very analytical pianist, always in search of meaning, he has in this evening of La Roque captivated his audience by emphasizing the heart rather than reason. Of course, everything is reflected, but the essential is in the accelerations, the flights, and the murmurs that El Bacha makes emerge from his piano. The concert is of a continuous beauty that strikes the mind, and the Scherzo part should not be privileged to the detriment of those devoted to noctures and ballads. Requesting that the audience applaud only at the end of each ballad, rising briefly to return to the keyboard. El Bacha gave the concert a round aspect that reinforced its gripping aspect. Magnificent! Jean-Rémi Barland


Resmusica 14/06/2018 : 2018, magnificent Fifteenth edition of the Lille piano(s) festival
Andrei Korobeinikov first, at the city conservatory, enthused in a dreamy and lyrical Prokofiev Sonata No. 9 and an incandescent Scriabin Fifth Sonata, this vertiginous piano poem. .... what a pianist!
 ... a marvelous First Concerto by Chopin illuminated by the aristocratic elegance of Abdel Rahman El Bacha, playing with a rare perfection and an overwhelmingly modest emotion.
...Lugansky, Korobeinikov, El Bacha, Ullman, it is hardly in Lille that one can hear such a quantity of inspired pianists in such a short time. Jean-Claude Hulot - Article

Resmusica 26/09/2017: With El Bacha, 1911 as if you were there
Abdel Rahman El Bacha signs at the Philharmonie de Paris a great recital, where the passionate accents of Granados interest, while the causticity of Ravel and Stravinsky enthuse frankly.
Goyescas de Granados - ... one would shed tears when hearing the lament of the young girl in El Amor y la Muerte, the most Lisztese piece in the collection; and the trembling image of the spectre, summoned in the chromaticism of the Epilogue, sounds like a sinister grimace. It is particularly admirable, in these moments of grace, with what aptness the pianist distends the pulse, so that the evocation unfolds fully in the minds of the listeners.
Ravel's Noble and Sentimental Waltzes - ...El Bacha, holding his gestures with grace, finds a perfect combination of vitality, haughty irony and tenderness, which make the genius of these little miniatures shine through. Finally, a triumphant Stravinsky, burning and spiritual, convinces us that the pianist has indeed reached the peak of his maturity.  Joseph Thirouin - Article

 

Le Monde 25/09/2017 : The Franco-Lebanese pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha at the Philharmonie de Paris!
The amphitheater of the Philharmonie 2 is sold out in the early afternoon for the pianistic journey of the year 1911 made by Abdel Rahman El Bacha on a 1907 Gaveau, to be seen as much as to be heard. A statement that also applies to the soloist, both sensitive and flamboyant. El Bacha seems to play for him and to "admit" us to his side. His eyes are fixed on his fingers. Ours, too; so as not to miss anything of a truly choreographic performance. Enrique Granados' very sensual Goyescas contain a galaxy of states of love that El Bacha makes us glimpse with an instrument metamorphosed into an XXL fan.
Stravinsky Mouvements by Petrouchka. The work of a hero with superpowers in which, however, we find the popular coloring dear to Granados and the rhythmic challenge taken up by Ravel. The Stravinsky perspective begins well.
All the more so as Abdel Rahman El Bacha, who received a standing ovation after each piece, succeeded in his interpretive prowess. Pierre Gervasoni - Article

Nice Morning Concert of the Orcpaca: irresistible Emperor
You thought you knew everything about Beethoven's Emperor Concerto? Master of the imperial-scale keyboard, Abdel Rahman El Bacha has taught you everything you need to know from the beginning! In front of a packed Théâtre Croisette, he revisited the masterpiece as we have never heard it before. ....Gifted with the privileged sense of the ideal Beethovenian interpreter, a confluence of present objectivity and past subjectivity. El Bacha has adorned the sublime grandeur and rhythmic impetuosity of this concerto with unspeakable timeless poetry. Irresistible. A triumph has been reserved for this immense artist... - Aurore Busser

La Nouvelle Republique.fr 30/11/2015: Preludes on a large scale
Playing with the freedom that is the soul of the prelude, linking styles and climates yet so contrasting, Abdel Rahman El Bacha summoned Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninov to the foot of the ladder.
And each, in his own language, sparkling with clarity and ornaments, carried by a surging wave of romantic poetry, furious torrent or rainbow, crossed the degrees of the color of the tones. Fulgurant, translucent, vehement, contemplative, beaded, muffled... the black and white of the keyboard is adorned with every nuance in this unexpected play of mirrors that requires so much virtuosity from the pianist, but also... from the listener. - Philippe Haller


A masterful mastery
Sounds that are alternately round and violent, a phrasing without frills, without ostentatious virtuosity, a right hand of breathtaking precision, a left hand that knows how to make itself light, his interpretations are fresh and extraordinarily poetic. If the perfect mastery of the instrument deserves some superlatives, his interpretations do not boil down to that. The comprehension of the works, the nuances, their finesse of execution leave no doubt about the qualities of the artist, certainly endowed with a perfect technique but also and above all with "an artist's soul", ... The public, amazed by so many emotions, standing, did not dry up applause for this great moment of exception - J.-L.G.

Programme

 

Recital 2021/2022

Récital I

Beethoven -  Sonate no 24 en fa # majeur op 78 « à Thérèse »
Schubert -  Sonate en sol majeur D 894
***intermission***
Mendelssohn  -  Scherzo a Capriccio en fa # mineur
Mendelssohn - Rondo Capriccioso op 14
Ravel -  Le Tombeau de Couperin

Récital II

Chopin - 4 Scherzos, 4 Impromptus et 4 Ballades

         1er Scherzo, en si mineur op 20 (1831)
         Fantaisie-Impromptu en ut # mineur [op 66, posthume] (1835)
         1ère Ballade,  en sol mineur opus 23 (1831-35)
         2ème Scherzo, en si b mineur opus 31 (1837)
         Impromptu en la b majeur opus 29 (1837)
         2ème Ballade, en fa majeur opus 38 (1836-39)                                             
***intermission***
         3ème Scherzo, en ut # mineur opus 39 (1839)
         Impromptu en fa # majeur opus 36 (1839)
         3ème Ballade, en la b majeur opus 47 (1841)

         4ème Scherzo, en mi majeur opus 54 (1842)
         Impromptu en sol b majeur opus 51 (1842)
         4ème Ballade, en fa mineur opus 52 (1842)                                                        

Recital III

Prokofiev The War Sonatas: Piano Sonatas Nos. 6,7 & 8 
Orchestra 2021/2022

Brahms  - Concerto nr 2
Saint-Saëns – Concert nr 5
MORE CONCERTI (about 60) are possible after consultation

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Photo credit: Marco Borggreve

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