|Sony Classical is proud to announce the signing of twenty-five year old French pianist Lucas Debargue, the most talked-about artist of the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition.
As soon as Debargue began to play in the early rounds of the event (routinely hailed as one of the world’s foremost piano competitions), an extraordinary buzz of excitement began to develop around him. By the finals, it had crescendoed into a roar – and not just for his intense, muscular, intellectual playing, or his lyrical phrasing, but because his journey to reach that point had been so unusual.
His unique background was reflected in a paradoxical result. ‘The real winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition is the man who came last,’ said The Spectator. But although he was placed fourth in the final, his remarkable talent was recognised with the award of the Moscow Music Critics’ Association to ‘the pianist whose incredible gift, artistic vision and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience.’
It is all the more amazing in light of his unusual history. Debargue did not touch a piano until he was 11 and then taught himself by ‘tinkering’. At 17 he dropped the instrument completely in favour of the bass guitar. He then began a literature degree and only took the instrument up again at 20 when a friend, who remembered his playing, invited him to perform at the Fête de la musique at Debargue’s hometown.
His playing was so powerful that he was put in touch with the celebrated Russian piano teacher, Rena Shereshevskaya, at the prestigious École Normale Alfred Cortot in Paris. At the age of 24, he dazzled audiences and critics alike with his unique talent at the Tchaikovsky Competition.
Ismene Brown in The Telegraph praised his ‘artistry, originality and technical brilliance’ and went on to say that he was ‘miraculous… His absorbing concentration on sound rather than technique contrasted him immediately with the more virtuosic pianists around.’ In The Spectator Damian Thompson hailed his ‘outstanding performance… Perhaps it’s his intellect. He ‘argues’ the music with a confidence worthy of Richter.’
Debargue’s highly-anticipated debut recording, set for release in March 2016, will include works by Domenico Scarlatti; Chopin’s sublime Ballade No 4; Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz; and Ravel’s demandingGaspard de la nuit (his performance of which in Round 2 of the competition caused a sensation).
Critics and live audiences have already fallen under Debargue’s spell. Now lovers of recorded music will be able to experience the magic of this extraordinary young musician too.