Bertrand Chamayou wraps up Abu Dhabi Classics season
The Abu Dhabi Classics season will wrap up this weekend with solo piano recitals by Bertrand Chamayou.
He is an apt choice, as the 34-year-old’s career is a perfect match for the festival’s theme of The Traveller. He says he loves life on the road and the chance to explore new places and experience different cultures.
His Abu Dhabi performances – at Manarat Saadiyat on Wednesday, May 27 and Al Ain Municipality Theatre on Thursday, May 28 – are his first in the region, an experience he is excited to savour.
Do you have any expectations when you are performing in a new country?
None whatsoever and that’s what keeps it all exciting for me. You know, it is always good to play in what we may call “established” places but I love meeting new people and cultures. As a musician, this is important for me and that’s why I keep moving.
Your are performing solo in Abu Dhabi, but you are equally comfortable playing in an orchestra or as part of chamber group – does that also come down from a desire to keep moving?
Absolutely – and it’s not just chamber and orchestras. Sometimes I like playing modern pieces, electronic music and other period pieces. Generally in my career, I don’t like to be fixed in one area. I like to keep things fluid and want my career and life in general to have certain movement.
You are known for your wide range of performances that span centuries, from Chopin to modern composers such as György Kurtág. Do you see some musical continuation from these eras?
I do feel there is a continuation but if we are really going to look at this intensely, there is a delicate rupture in the music – but it’s not in the 20th century as some might think. It is in the beginning of the 19th century instead, between the Classical period and the Romantic period. Modern music today actually is more closer to the Romantic period and we are using instruments from that era. The music is more orchestral and full of colour.
Is it true that your music career started when you joined a friend for a piano lesson as when you were a 7 year old?
It was completely by chance, because nobody was playing music in my home. A piano teacher was living nearby and I was encouraged to go, but I really didn’t want to. But then a friend from my school told me to go with him, so I did just so we could hang out. As soon as I started to play the piano I developed a love for it and music in general. As I grew up and learnt more about music, I wanted to compose, improvise and do all sorts of things. It became a passion and that was important for me. Before all the schooling and conservatories, it was really all about that passion to create new sounds.
By starting so young, do you feel all that musical education robbed you of a normal childhood?
I would have to say no – and I did see the impact that can have on other children. That’s because I viewed it as a hobby – and also, I didn’t come from a musical family. That helped because I didn’t have any parents on my back. It was a totally normal childhood, and I would play football and tennis. The only difference is that when my parents went out, I would ask them to buy some piano scores by contemporary composers as well as comics. Growing up, I also had music that I enjoyed for myself and music I listened to as a musician.
Whar music do you listen to when you are not in musician mode?
It’s funny because it’s only when I became a professional musician – when I was 18 – that I really started to develop an interest in pop music and that was for musical reasons. I am huge fan of Prince and I’ve been to a lot of his concerts in France. I also love David Bowie. As a classical musician, we can learn a lot from pop music. I like how pop music can be organic and full of rhythm. Classical music can be so intellectual but sometimes we, as musicians from that genre, need to understand what our body is telling us in terms of sensation and pulse.
Manarat al Saadiyat from 8pm on Wednesday, May 27. Entry is free but registration is required in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 657 5800
Al Ain Municipality Theatre on Thursday, May 28 at 8pm. Ticket prices start at Dh100 from www.ticketmaster.ae
This dates of the concert in this online article have been amended to show the correct date. It previously stated the concert dates were Thursday, 28 May, and Friday, 29 May. The correct concert dates are as follows: Abu Dhabi performances – Manarat Saadiyat on Wednesday, May 27 and Al Ain Municipality Theatre on Thursday, May 28.
Updated: May 26, 2015 04:00 AM