About Bertrand Chamayou
Pianist Bernard Chamayou is known for his fresh performances of Romantic music but also has a large repertory that extends into the 21st century. He is the only artist to have won France's Victoire de la Musique Classique award three times.
Chamayou was born in Toulouse on March 23, 1981. As a child, he learned to read music in less than a month but avoided the role of prodigy, experimenting with his own compositions at the household upright piano instead of practicing obsessively. He studied at the Toulouse Conservatory with Claudine Willoth and was later mentored by Paris Conservatory professor Jean-François Heisser, who invited him to enroll at the school when he was 15. Later he went on to study privately in London with Maria Curcio. He had further guidance from Leon Fleisher, Dmitri Bashkirov, and above all, Murray Perahia; he credits the latter for a strong influence. Chamayou's professional career was helped along by prizes at the Kraïnev Piano Competition in Ukraine and the International Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition. He has appeared with major orchestras in several countries, including the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, and the Cleveland Orchestra. Chamayou is also a frequent guest on festival stages, including those of the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Beethovenfest in Bonn. Specializing in Romantic repertory, he also has a strong presence in contemporary music, working with Henri Dutilleux, Pierre Boulez, and Esa-Pekka Salonen on new works. Chamayou has played chamber music with a variety of partners, including Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Vilde Frang, and Sol Gabetta.
Chamayou has recorded for the major Naïve, Sony Classical, and Erato/Warner Classics labels, issuing a new album almost every year since 2008. His recordings have focused mostly on Romantic music. For Erato, he recorded a critically acclaimed cycle of the piano works of Ravel. In addition to his Victoire de la Musique Classique awards, his 2019 recording of Saint-Saëns' Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 5 with the French National Orchestra and Emanuel Krivine was awarded Recording of the Year by Gramophone magazine. In 2020, he released the recital Good Night! on Erato. Chamayou was made a Chevalier of France's Order of Arts and Letters in 2015. ~ James Manheim