Jean-Philippe Collard in Recital, the second Great Performers concert of the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s 2011-2012 season, features internationally acclaimed French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard on February 7 only

Jean-Philippe Collard in Recital -- the second Great Performers concert of the NAC’s 2011-2012 season – features renowned French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard. Jean-Philippe Collard in Recital is at 8 p.m. in Southam Hall on Tuesday February 7, 2012.

The program includes:
DEBUSSY  Six Préludes  
CHOPIN  Scherzo No. 3 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 39
CHOPIN Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1
CHOPIN Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
LISZT  Piano Sonata in B minor

Renowned French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard replaces Louis Lortie – who had to cancel his appearance due to injury -- in this Great Performers concert;. Mr. Collard’s most recent appearance at the National Arts Centre was in January of 2006, performing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Eri Klas on the podium.

Mr. Collard will perform six Préludes by Debussy, replete with rich, unusual and daring harmonies. The Préludes for solo piano are divided into two separate livres, or books, of twelve preludes each. Each book was written in a matter of months (1909-10 and 1912-13), at an unusually fast pace for Debussy. There is no proof that Debussy intended the preludes to be performed as a cycle. Debussy and other pianists played them in groups of 3 or 4 preludes, which remains a popular approach today. This allows performers to choose preludes with which they have the strongest affinity, or those to which their individual interpretive gifts are most suited. The moods of the pieces vary wildly, encompassing profound calm, mystery, and tumultuous, unrestrained virtuosity.

Polish-born Frederic Chopin emigrated to Paris, where he reached maturity, and where he was to spend most of his life, becoming the emblem of the French 19th century Romantic musician. Even though he remained eternally nostalgic for his homeland, his success in Paris was immense. A close friend of Victor Hugo, Hector Berlioz, and George Sand, he was at the very heart of nascent Romanticism. His Scherzos for piano with their fantastical and crackling imagery are as furious as his Nocturnes are tormented. Suffering from ill health, then tuberculosis, Chopin settled for six years at a château in Nohant where without respite he composed his most visionary works. Isolated and exhausted, he died in the autumn of 1849. With his Ballades and Impromptus the composer remains a true adventurer of the piano. Chopin had, in his own words, “the desire, noble although perhaps too daring, to create a new world”. He succeeded, and his contemporaries bowed before him. Robert Schumann, for example, noted with admiration, “Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!”

Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor (1854) is arguably his finest composition and one of the greatest piano sonatas ever written. The Sonata was composed in 1852-53. At this point in his life, Liszt’s career as a traveling virtuoso had almost entirely subsided, as he was now more of a composer than a performer. Much speculation surrounds the origins of this piece, a single movement of non-stop music for solo piano. While Liszt composed many programmatic works, at no point did he suggest that this piece was constructed upon any idea greater than pure music. However, it has been suggested that the piece could be programmatic of the Faust legend or the biblical story of the Garden of Eden or even be autobiographical. The sonata was first performed on January 27, 1857 in Berlin by Liszt's pupil and son-in-law, Hans von Bülow. It was attacked by conservative critics, but the sonata did draw an enthusiastic compliment from composer Richard Wagner. It took a long time for the Sonata to become commonplace in concert repertoire both because of its technical difficulty and negative initial reception due to its status as “new” music. However by the early stages of the 20th century, the piece had become established as a pinnacle of Liszt’s repertoire and has been a popularly performed and extensively analyzed piece ever since.

French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard has complete mastery of French concerto literature, and his interpretations of works by Bartok, Brahms, Gershwin, Haydn, Liszt, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky have met with great acclaim.

Born into a musical family, Mr. Collard was admitted to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris at a young age. At sixteen he was unanimously awarded the Conservatory’s First Prize, and subsequently he has won many others, including the Grand Prix du Concours National des Artistes Soloistes, Prix Albert Roussel, Prix Gabriel Faure, Prix du Concours International Marguerite Long/Jacques Thibaud, and Grand Prix du Concours International Cziffra. Mr. Collard was named Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur in 2003.

In addition to recitals throughout Europe, North and South America, Russia and the Far East, Mr. Collard has appeared as soloist with the world’s greatest orchestras. He has collaborated with such renowned conductors as Semyon Bychkov, Marek Janowski, Eugen Jochum, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Simon Rattle and Charles Dutoit. He has also performed at the London Proms Concerts, and the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Bad Kissingen, Salzburg, Bath, Caramoor, Newport, and Saratoga Festivals, and his recitals are eagerly-awaited events all over the world.

A prolific recording artist with more than thirty titles to his credit, Mr. Collard’s discography includes the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux and Brahms Hungarian Dances (with pianist Michel Beroff), both named Stereo Review’s ‘Record of the Year’ in their respective years; the Ravel Concerti with Lorin Maazel and the Orchestre National de France, cited by Gramophone Magazine as ‘Best Concerto Recording’; and the Chausson Concert, Op. 21 (with Augustin Dumay and the Muir String Quartet) which won the ‘Grand Prix du Disque’. He has recorded all five Saint-Saens Piano Concerti with Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the first recordings of Mozart’s arrangements of the six French melodies with baritone Jose van Dam. Other recordings include a disc of Chopin Ballades and the Sonata No. 3, and a Liszt recital disc including the B minor Sonata. Jean-Philippe Collard lives in Paris with his wife and five children.

Jean-Philippe Collard in Recital will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Tuesday February 7, 2012 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $42.51, $49.50, $53.81, $64.57, and $75.33, for adults and $11.73, $17.11, $22.76, $26.25, $28.41, $33.79, and $39.17 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online ( or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail

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Information:  Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335   

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