Xavier de Maistre is one of today’s leading harpists and a profoundly creative musician. As a fierce champion of his instrument, he has broadened the harp repertoire, commissioning new work from composers. He also creates transcriptions of important instrumental repertoire, and is the only harpist in the world to perform works such as Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.19 in F major, K.459.
This musical vision has led him to work with conductors including Sir André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, Daniele Gatti, Philippe Jordan, Kristjan Järvi, Bertrand de Billy, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Daniel Harding and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. He has been invited by orchestras such as Chicago, Montreal, City of Birmingham and Finnish Radio Symphony orchestras; London, St Petersburg and China Philharmonic orchestras; Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. In his native France he has worked with Orchestre de Paris, the national orchestras of France and Lyon; the philharmonic orchestras of Radio France, Monte-Carlo, Montpellier, Lille and Nancy; and recitals in Paris and Lille operas, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice, Poitiers and Avignon, among other places.
Parallel to his orchestral concerts, de Maistre is passionate about chamber music and regularly puts together original recital projects. In 2019/20 he starts a new collaboration with tenor Rolando Villazón, with whom he will record a project of South American folk songs for Deutsche Grammophon over the coming season. They will perform in Moscow’s Zaryadye Hall, Oper Frankfurt, Rheingau Musik Festival, Vienna, Prague and a multi-city tour in Germany. Last season he worked with flamenco and castanet legend Lucero Tena in a programme of Spanish repertoire, touring Europe, Japan and China, performing in Hong Kong’s French May festival and releasing an album. He has also worked with Diana Damrau, Arabella Steinbacher, Daniel Müller-Schott, Baiba Skride, Antoine Tamestit, Mojca Erdmann, and Magali Mosnier.
This season he takes up residency at Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, giving more than 15 concerts during summer 2020, including the official presentation of his duet with Rolando Villazon. As a soloist, he has been a frequent guest of many high-profile festivals, including Rheingau, Salzburger Festspielen, Wiener Festwochen, Verbier, Budapest Spring, Würzburg Mozartfest and Mostly Mozart in New York.
De Maistre has been an exclusive Sony Music artist since 2008, when he recorded his first album, Nuit d’Etoiles, dedicated to Debussy, winning an Echo Klassik Award as Instrumentalist of the Year. Further releases included Hommage à Haydn (2009), Aranjuez (2010) and Notte Veneziana (2012), featuring significant Baroque repertoire. Recent releases have included a DVD of performances with Diana Damrau, his transcription of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.19 in F major, K.459, with Mozarteum Salzburg under the baton of Ivor Bolton, Moldau (2015), solo harp pieces by Slavic composers, and La Harpe Reine (2016) with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.
Born in Toulon, de Maistre studied the harp with Vassilia Briano at his local conservatoire, before perfecting his technique with Catherine Michel and Jacqueline Borot in Paris. He also studied in Sciences-Po Paris and then at the London School of Economics. In 1998 he was awarded First Prize (and two interpretation prizes) at the prestigious USA International Harp Competition (Bloomington) and became the same year the first French musician to be admitted at the Wiener Philharmoniker.
He has taught at Musikhochschule in Hamburg since 2001.
“De Maistre is a kind of Hamelin of the harp: the agility, the ease with which the most astonishing technical challenges are surmounted, the conversational phrasing and evenness of rapid passagework instantly amaze. But it is also his depth of tone and variety of colour that beguile.”
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