Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Piano

“...he makes you listen to music as if you are discovering it Eureka!-style: yes, that’s what the composer must have meant.” (Financial Times)

Contacts

Katie Cardell-Oliver +44 (0)20 3725 9149
Margot Moseley +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Biography

Award-winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet enjoys a prolific recording and international concert career and regularly works with orchestras such as The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestras, and collaborates with conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Jurowski, Gianandrea Noseda, François-Xavier Roth, Charles Dutoit, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Sir Andrew Davis amongst others. 

Highlights during the 2017/18 season include returns to San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, NHK Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras. Bavouzet will appear at the Philharmonie de Paris with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and also performs with Detroit and Melbourne symphony orchestras, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Royal Scottish National and the City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras.

Award-winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet enjoys a prolific recording and international concert career and regularly works with orchestras such as The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestras, and collaborates with conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Jurowski, Gianandrea Noseda, François-Xavier Roth, Charles Dutoit, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Sir Andrew Davis amongst others. 

Highlights during the 2017/18 season include returns to San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, NHK Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras. Bavouzet will appear at the Philharmonie de Paris with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and also performs with Detroit and Melbourne symphony orchestras, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Royal Scottish National and the City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras.  

Bavouzet records exclusively for Chandos and his numerous recordings have won a number of Gramophone Awards and BBC Music Magazine Awards as well as a Diapason d’Or and Choc de l’année.Together with Manchester Camerata and Gábor Takács-Nagy, Bavouzet has recorded several of Haydn’s Piano Concertos and embarked on a series of Mozart concertos, which have been critically acclaimed. Other recent recordings include the complete Beethoven Sonatas and an ongoing project to record the Haydn Piano Sonatas.  

In recital, Bavouzet regularly performs at venues such as The Louvre in Paris and London’s Wigmore Hall and has collaborated with composer Jörg Widmann in a chamber music project at the Prinzregententheater in Munich. To mark the anniversary of Debussy’s death, Bavouzet will perform an extended recital programme of all Debussy’s works which will be presented by the Barbican Centre at Milton Court and at the 2018 Perth International Arts Festival. He will give numerous recitals throughout Europe, UK and in North America. 

Bavouzet has worked closely with Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Kurtág, Maurice Ohana and Bruno Mantovani and is also a champion of lesser-known French music, notably that of Gabriel Pierné and Albéric Magnard. He is the International Chair in Piano at the Royal Northern College of Music.

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Contacts

Katie Cardell-Oliver +44 (0)20 3725 9149
Margot Moseley +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Reviews

“His performance of this effervescent composition was without technical flaw.  The opening Allegramente crackled with energy” (Performing Arts Hub, David Barmby, September 2017)

“The final romp of a finale exuded wit and charm, driving rhythms prevailing throughout with the pianist’s touch ranging from utmost delicacy to the incisive precision of the syncopated staccato chords” (Classic Melbourne, September 2017)

“Bavouzet injected a sense of mystery to the fantasy section and made smart work of Mozart’s rather flashy cadenza.” (Robert Beale, The Arts Desk, March 2017)

“His performance of this effervescent composition was without technical flaw.  The opening Allegramente crackled with energy” (Performing Arts Hub, David Barmby, September 2017)

“The final romp of a finale exuded wit and charm, driving rhythms prevailing throughout with the pianist’s touch ranging from utmost delicacy to the incisive precision of the syncopated staccato chords” (Classic Melbourne, September 2017)

“Bavouzet injected a sense of mystery to the fantasy section and made smart work of Mozart’s rather flashy cadenza.” (Robert Beale, The Arts Desk, March 2017)

“The music is lit with quick wit, intelligence, and shafts of tenderness” (The Financial Times, December 2016)

“there are few pianists with the recreative fantasy that Bavouzet brings to just about everything he plays.” (Gramophone, November 2016)

“The solo playing sparkles, the orchestra is alive with detail, everything a delight.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, October 2016)

“Assured in his own art, he commands a fully matured artistry, lacking neither subtlety or dynamism.” (Santa Barbara News-Press, April 2016)

“Expansive, beautifully realized, but never lacking in virtuosity. This was music-making that was controlled but seemingly spontaneous and on occasion, electrifying. Little wonder that the capacity audience jumped to its feet at the end. I can’t remember a performance so completely satisfying.” (Seen and Heard, February 2016)

“Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, first heard here playing Prokofiev, mirrored his caffeinated 2010 debut with Ravel of the most vibrant, eye-opening sort.  In the outer movements, Bavouzet wielded touches both hard-edged and feathery, imbuing Ravel's ceaselessly active music with the strongest doses of whatever character it demanded. Yet never did he fail as a collaborator; Throughout, the pianist mimicked and engaged the harp, woodwinds and strings in pointed conversation.  The pinnacle was the Adagio. Out of its touching solo theme, Bavouzet and orchestra crafted a lavish and ultimately hugely impassioned episode, one that developed naturally and boasted limpid contributions from soloists all over the ensemble. Their music contained not just all the color absent from the region but also the warmth.” (The Plain Dealer, February 2016)

“This was, I thought, a Beethoven performance of undeniable greatness: not different for the sake of it, but asserting its – and Beethoven’s – difference through a Pollini-like re-examination of the material(...)  All Beethoven performances should, if only briefly, restore one’s faith in humanity; this one did.” (Mark Berry, Seen and Heard, February 2016)

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet played the solo in Liszt’s second piano concerto with virtuoso panache and alertness to its changing moods, from tenderness to bombast.” ( Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, February 2016)

“The evening’s highlight was Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s dashing account of the bimanual Ravel Piano Concerto, which combined technical facility with enormous musical sensibility to create a memorable performance.” (Bachtrack, January 2016)

“The lovely opening to the A flat Sonata was beautifully done, with just the right spaciousness and clarity of fingering. It was in the final movement – by turns poetically reflective and fugally stern – that Bavouzet rose most fully to the challenge, creating momentum in the final pages that seemed to storm the heavens.” (Martin Kettle, The Guardian, January 2016)

“This dark if luminous music was given with menace and jazzy swagger, superficiality left in the dressing room, and Bavouzet’s reading of the cadenza was totally absorbing, evolving its bittersweet lyricism with much poignancy.” (Classical Source, November 2015)

“The best is yet to come however, the orchestra is driven by an unusual excitation. It’s Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, whose left hand meets the expectations of the Ravel Concerto, and this is a total triumph. The pianist masters the score and gives an interpretation with panache. Through his playing, the work fully becomes the tragic masterpiece that musicologists like to describe. (…) This sensible, intense and honourable interpretation is worthy of all praises.” (ResMusica, November 2015)

“Bavouzet was flawless without being showy, technically brilliant, producing singing, dancing phrases that coalesced into something even more substantial and memorable than concerto's meeting of a great challenge in itself signifies. In the judicious balances by Tortelier, strings, especially cellos and basses, underlaid and lifted solo passages with thrilling musicality.” (San Francisco Examiner, November 2015)

“And those spectacularly strong fingers encased in metaphorical velvet gloves delivered Debussy’s complex Impressionist harmonic tapestry with aplomb yet also with rigorous objectivity that maintained everyone’s composure and focus even in the most colourful passages.” (The Advertiser, August 2015)

“If the razzle-dazzle of Ravel's Finale were not enough, with its splashing runs of triads and the orchestra enjoying what sounded like hunting escapades, Bavouzet's encore almost stole the show. An 1887 concert study by Gabriel Pierne was an exquisitely manicured dash through terrain terrifying to most pianists.” (William Dart, NZ Herald, August 2015)

“The whole thing was dreamlike, unpredictable, unlike any performance you would have heard before” (The Arts Desk, August 2015)

“Then we heard a scintillating, scampering account of the finale, played with the utmost virtuosity by Bavouzet, yet still with elegance and refinement.” (Seen and Heard, August 2015)

“The colours, dynamics and textural finesse of this performance, enhanced by superbly lifelike recording, are breathtaking.” (David Fanning, Gramophone, July 2015)

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet ….gave a tightly organised lunchtime recital at Wigmore Hall, embracing Beethoven’s Sonata in F sharp Op 78, Boulez’s Piano Sonata No 1, movements from Maurice Ohana’s Douze Etudes d’interprétation and three Debussy Etudes. Each of the works was linked, by inspiration or influence. Bavouzet’s playing has precision, finesse and fiery elegance, as expressive in the fluidity of Debussy as in the percussive vigour of the Boulez, written when the composer, 90 this year, was 21.” ***** (The Guardian, May 2015)

“This often understated, always musical, pianist here turned into a dynamo, fizzing up and down the keyboard with the energy of a nuclear reaction. It was a cracking performance.” (Seen and Heard International, Feburary 2015)

“The phenomenal French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet … created a wonderfully-effective mix of Prokofiev's gleaming melodic genius, richly-harmonic colouring, and diamond-hard percussive pianism.” (Herald Scotland, February 2015)

“Bavouzet deserves to be ranked among the world's finest Ravel pianists. This was pianism of exquisite control and intelligence in which the music's immense technical difficulties were swept aside, and sublimated to an over-arching imaginative conception of subtlety, delicacy and refinement.” (Brisbane Times, November 2014)

“The superb French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet was soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Those expecting a French artist to exemplify stereotypical French sensibilities, like refinement, might have been surprised by Mr. Bavouzet’s crisp, incisive playing. This was a bracing account of a familiar piece. There was no dawdling in ruminative variations, and just enough use of expressive rubato in episodes of soaring lyricism.” (New York Times, October 2014)

“After receiving a big ovation, Mr. Bavouzet played a solo encore: Debussy’s Prelude “Feux d’artifice” (“Fireworks”). This performance conveyed all the wildness of this swirling, dizzying music. The leap from this work to the Ligeti études seemed not that far.” (New York Times, October 2014)

“The real dynamic triumph, however, involved Bavouzet’s responsiveness to Jurowski’s command of gradual crescendo. When Prokofiev repeats himself, particularly when tricky passages are concerned, the overall passage should not be reduced to the incessant churning of some infernal machine. Instead, both Jurowski and Bavouzet interpreted such instances as the gradual accumulation of some demonic force, always knowing the climactic goal and giving it that extra kick for the sake of the impact of achievement. The result was an interpretation calculated to stun even those listeners who have heard this concerto enough times to know it by heart.  Bavouzet also took a solo encore, which involved the same abundant outpouring of notes that one often finds in Prokofiev but seemed to have been couched in an entirely different rhetoric, almost as if Bavouzet had been working on his own improvisation in the wake of performing the Opus 26 concerto.” (San Francisco Examiner, October 2014)

“The Prokofiev concerto got an unusual performance as well. Bavouzet is a French colorist with a stupendous technique and a light touch. He skates over the keys. A specialist in French music, his recordings of Debussy's solo piano music are superbly detailed.  Too delicate to be percussive, the pianist can easily be drowned out by a big orchestra, as he sometimes was during the Prokofiev concerto. But Bavouzet's gleaming tone, his tremendous dexterity and his characterful grace paired surprisingly well with Jurowski's soulfully understated accompaniment. Bavouzet's encore of the last of Debussy's piano preludes, "Feux d'artifice," simply dazzled.” (Los Angeles Times, October 2014)

“It was good to have Bavouzet back at Orchestra Hall after an absence of three years.  His playing represents much of what one associates with the French piano school; clear precise articulation of notes, poised and elegant lines, sonorities that are hard and bright rather than deep.  You can hear those qualities on his recent Chandos disc of Haydn piano concertos and they served him well in his cleanly etched account of the Rachmaninov on Saturday.  His seemingly infallible fingers took the bravura pages nonchalantly, whilst his nimble dialoguing with the orchestra’s solo woodwinds sparkled.” (Chicago Tribune, October 2014)

“It started with a slow hesitation before Jurowski began to pull more expansive gestures from the orchestra. Bavouzet countered with lavish runs in a blur of fingers that seemed oblivious to the increasing breadth of the orchestration creeping behind it. Then at once, their styles seemed to come together, with a singular grace and vigour.  In a dramatic thrust of energy, Bavouzet left the final chord by jumping up from the piano and pushing the bench forward, hitting its frame. The audience responded with a standing ovation. It was an impressive sight.” (Toronto Star, October 2014)

“Award–winning French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, featured soloist for the Prokofiev, gave a powerfully assured performance of this demanding keyboard part, sensitively dialoguing with the orchestra and deftly inhabiting Prokofiev’s fiendish surprises and cutting wit. After a stormy ending to the first movement, the Andantino begins placidly with the promise of reprieve but minutes later explodes with the soloist racing up and down the keyboard, whipping the symphony into a fever and settling into hand-crossing gyrations. Bavouzet was wonderful, and I’m certain a few patrons previously lukewarm about Prokofiev were converted.” (Santa Barbara Independent, October 2014)

“The finale's progression from jazzy turbulence to music of intense feeling brought an equally thrilling display of dexterity. Still, it was the central movement that made the greatest impression. Jurowski shaped the orchestral contributions artfully, and Bavouzet's beautifully refined playing through Prokofiev's reflective variations was authoritative. (The pianist returned for an encore, a fleet performance of Massenet's Toccata in B-flat major.)” (San Jose News, October 2014)

“Within a few bars the dazzling, impish virtuosity of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet had utterly eclipsed the previous performance. This was Prokofiev the Parisian: dashing, urbane, flecked with wit and irony, with still enough muscle in Bavouzet’s fingers for him to handle the rampaging charges up and down the keyboard.” (Neil Fisher, The Times, September 2014)

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet was on top form – impulsive, maverick, at times insanely virtuosic, the ideal pianist for a Piano Concerto that flies by the seat of its pants.” (Peter Reed, Classical Source, September 2014) 

“More substantial was Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. This proved to be an extraordinarily accomplished performance. Often, the sheer brilliance of Prokofiev’s virtuosic piano writing is deemed challenge enough for any mere 10-fingered exponent, without having to worry about niceties of interpretation. For Bavouzet, however, the notes were merely the beginning. Finely nuanced in touch and tone, his performance demonstrated the delicacy as well as the mechanised energy of the young Russian composer’s dazzling talent, while his two encores, by Debussy and Massenet, offered further evidence of his subtle colouristic range and flawless dexterity.” (The Guardian, September 2014)

“There are many outstanding recordings of Prokofiev’s five piano concertos. The latest is an exciting addition to the discography. The French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is probably better known for his elegance and stylistic insights than his virtuosic prowess. Still, he plays these challenging works brilliantly, with crisp clarity, flair and style. He conveys the sometimes brutal sonorities of the music without letting the piano sound percussive.” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, March 2014)

“A quite wonderful pianist… in his prime, with a thrust and command of brilliance and musical energy that are controlled by a most likeable personality. His freshness and directness are delightful, the virtuosity often breathtaking, but his control is as much musical as technical.” (Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone, February 2014)

“[…] this set finds Bavouzet at his considerable best. The 'Moonlight' radiates mystery and momentum, the 'Tempest' has fabulous intensity (and a graceful touch), while the 'Waldstein' is treated to a performance of unmitigated rapture. Roll on Volume Three.” (Andrew Clark, Financial Times, January 2014)

“Bavouzet’s three-CD box encompasses sonatas written between 1800 and 1804. The Moonlight is here, the Waldstein too, along with the three pungent Op 31 sonatas, particularly suited for this French pianist’s fingers. The nervous, abrupt chords in the first movement of Op 31, No 1 jump out and bite us. He’s equally impressive capturing the music’s playful mischief and sudden poetic revelations.” (Geoff Brown, The Times, January 2014)

Discography

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