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His tone was ravishing – deep set and firmly articulate –
and his manner authoritative and considered. But there was mischief too,
which kept us on the edge of our seats to the bitter end”

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Solyom:
Mozart Piano Concerto in A K488, - Scotsman, Feb 2009
© William Beaucardet

One might say that music hovered like a fairy godmother over Jean-Philippe Collard’s cradle. Raised in a large, music-loving household, the little boy from the Champagne region was quick to fall under the spell of the magical ritual of chamber music in the family circle. So much so that, at the age of ten, he left his home town to go up to the capital, without fully realising what awaited him there: the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, the international competition circuit, eight years of study under the enlightened yet demanding tutelage of Pierre Sancan, before being propelled to the forefront of the international scene . . .

But the French pianist is not the kind of person to thrust his diplomas and his patrons under your nose as evidence of his talent: at most he will make no more than passing mention of the rm friendship that bound him to Horowitz in those crucial years when one’s artistic maturity is forged. It is to the Maestro that he owes the secret of the deep- seated, sustained melody that makes him a virtuoso of subdued lyricism, with a vibrant, warmly con dential tone.

Nowadays, with a discography of more than fty titles under his belt, Jean-Philippe Collard is a regular visitor to the foremost musical venues of the old continent and the other side of the Atlantic – from Carnegie Hall to the Teatro Colón by way of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Royal Albert Hall. A well-known gure to the French public, a great favourite with audiences in the United States, he could boast of having played with the top conductors and orchestras all over the world.

Yet the bright lights don’t seem to have dazzled this eminent pianist. Still as una ected as ever, direct and jovial, he’s more likely to talk of his private happiness than his public successes: a ful lling family life alongside his wife and ve children, with close and loyal friendships . . . A nature lover, a do-it-yourself enthusiast in his spare time, this gentleman pianist cultivates more than one secret garden.


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