David Fray

Piano

Biography

Described by the press as the “perfect example of a thinking musician” (Die Welt) and acclaimed for his interpretations of music from Bach to Boulez, David Fray performs in the world’s major venues as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician. He has collaborated with leading orchestras under distinguished conductors such as Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Andrey Boreyko, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniele Gatti, Paavo Järvi, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Sanderling, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Jaap van Zweden. Orchestral appearances in Europe have included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, London Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Salzburg Mozarteum, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Orchestre de Paris, and Orchestre National de France. David Fray made his US debut in 2009 with The Cleveland Orchestra followed by performances with the Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and appears regularly at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Mozarteum Salzburg, London’s Wigmore Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, and many other of the world’s major venues.

The work of Johann Sebastian Bach has always occupied a special place in David Fray’s repertoire and this season, he continues to tour with the Goldberg Variations. Recently, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris presented David Fray in a cycle of Bach’s work featuring the Goldberg Variations, keyboard concertos for two, three and four pianos with Mr. Fray play-directing from the piano, and Bach Violina Sonatas with Renaud Capuçon. David’s recent and upcoming CD releases are also centered around the composer, with the above-mentioned works all released on the Warner label.

In the 21/22 season, David Fray returns to perform with the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse and Monte Carlo Philharmonic where he will be joined by Cecilia Bartoli in a Mozart program. He also joins baritone Peter Mattei for performances of Schubert’s Winterreise, premiering their collaboration at the Frankfurt Opera and the Turku Music Festival in Finland. Mr. Fray will also appear in a special recital with Fatma Said at the Eiffel Tower. Mr. Fray continues to perform in Hamburg Ballet’s John Neumeier work “for the time of coronavirus” entitled Ghost Light, with an all-Schubert score, for which he won the Opus Klassik’s 2020 Award for “Innovative Concert of the Year.” Other highlights include performances of Bach Goldberg Variations at the Gulbenkian Festival in Lisbon, televised as part of “Pianomania II”, Bach Keyboard Concertos at the Firkusny Festival in Prague, as well as a recital tour of Asia in spring of 2022.  

Mr. Fray’s upcoming release on Warner, his exclusive label, features Bach Goldberg Variations. Previous releases include the Bach Keyboard Concertos for 2, 3, and 4 pianos, a “musical family affair” alongside his teacher Jacques Rouvier and his former students Audrey Vigoureux and Emmanuel Christien, and the Bach Violin Sonatas with Renaud Capuçon. In 2017, Mr. Fray recorded a CD of selected Chopin solo piano compositions, following the acclaimed disc called “Fantaisie,” an album of Schubert’s late piano works named Gramophone Editor’s Choice and praised by Sinfini Music as “one of the most appealing listening experiences of present times” and “exceptionally thoughtful and touching.” Mr. Fray first album featuring works of Bach and Boulez was praised as the “best record of the year” by the London Times and Le Soir. Mr. Fray’s second release, a recording of Bach keyboard concerti with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, was awarded by the German Recording Academy. An album featuring Schubert’s Moments Musicaux and Impromptus followed. Mr. Fray’s other critically acclaimed releases include Mozart piano concerti with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden, and the Bach Partitas Nos. 2 and 6 along with the Toccata in C minor. In 2008, the TV network ARTE +7 presented a documentary on David Fray directed by the renowned French director Bruno Monsaingeon. The film “Sing, Swing & Think” was subsequently released on DVD.

In 2021 David Fray founded and presented the first edition of a new Festival L’Offrande Musicale, which takes place annually in his native region of Hautes-Pyrénées in southwestern France. One of the central causes of the musical Festival is the support of people with disabilities.

David Fray holds multiple awards, including Opus Klassik Award for Innovative Concert of the Year (2020), the German Echo Klassik Prize for Instrumentalist of the Year and the Young Talent Award from the Ruhr Piano Festival. In 2008, he was named Newcomer of the Year by the BBC Music Magazine. At the 2004 Montreal International Music Competition, he received both the Second Grand Prize and the Prize for the best interpretation of a Canadian work. He started taking piano lessons at the age of four and furthered his studies with Jacques Rouvier at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris.

Reviews

“One of the most appealing listening experiences of present times […] He sounds like no other pianist on record.”

Sinfini Music

“The perfect example of a thinking musician…his interpretation relies on understatement, intimacy and sincerity.”

Die Welt

More Reviews

“One of the most appealing listening experiences of present times […] He sounds like no other pianist on record.”

Sinfini Music

“The perfect example of a thinking musician…his interpretation relies on understatement, intimacy and sincerity.”

Die Welt 

“This is an artist we need to hear more of.”

The New York Times 

“Exquisite, imaginative, and virtuosic … an extraordinary balance between the head and heart, between technical rigor and poetry.”

The Epoch Times 

“He walks the fine line between expression and intellect, emotion and technique perfectly.”

Gesellschaft Freunde der Künste

“The young French pianist David Fray approaches music very seriously. Though his performances […] were musically refined and technically elegant, searching out the meditative qualities of the music was Mr. Fray’s top priority. “

The New York Times

“Nothing feels prefabricated here, each repeat appears in a new light […] Even after four encores one finds it hard to leave the concert hall “

Tagesspiegel

“There was such an intimacy between pianist and instrument that the listener could only watch longingly. Soon, however, it developed into an atmosphere of delicate melancholy, […] that invited to close one’s eyes and give in to the somnambulistic-dreamy music”

Bachtrack

“Fray has a brilliant technique and a serious and thoughtful regard for the music. “

Chicago Tribune

“Fray has an instinctive Mozartean affinity – he communicates fresh ideas with subtle, stylistic deftness.”

BBC Review

X