Abdel Rahman El Bacha
Born in Beirut into a family of musicians, Abdel Rahman El Bacha began studying the piano in 1967 with Zvart Sarkissian, a pupil of Marguerite Long and Jacques Février. He gave his first concert with orchestra at the age of ten. In 1973 Claudio Arrau predicted a great career for him, and in 1974 France, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom all offered him a study scholarship. He chose France for reasons of cultural affinity and entered Pierre Sancan’s class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, from which he graduated with four premiers prix (piano, chamber music, harmony, counterpoint). Ever since the sensational revelation of his talent at the age of nineteen, when he won the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition by unanimous decision of the judges, he has appeared at the most prestigious concert halls in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
From the Salzburg Mozarteum to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw to the Herkulessaal in Munich, he has played as a soloist with such orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Belgian National Orchestra, the Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon, the NHK Orchestra Tokyo and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Abdel Rahman El Bacha has a large discography to his credit. In 1983 he received the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros from Mme Sergey Prokofiev in person for his recording of the early works of Prokofiev on Forlane. For the same label, he recorded concertos by Bach, the Ravel concertos, and solo works by Schumann, Ravel, Schubert and Rachmaninoff, in addition to the complete solo piano works of Chopin, arranged in chronological order, and the works for piano and orchestra with the Orchestre de Bretagne conducted by Stefan Sanderling.
His recent recordings include the complete piano works of Ravel, the two books of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, the Schubert Impromptus and the Goyescas of Granados; all these CDs were released on Octavia Records. In 2011 Abdel Rahman El Bacha began a collaboration with Mirare, launched by a programme of solo piano works by Prokofiev. This was followed in 2013 by a complete set of Beethoven’s thirty-two Piano Sonatas, and in 2018 by a recording of his own compositions for solo piano (the scores of which are published by Éditions Delatour).
Abdel Rahman El Bacha has possessed double Franco-Lebanese nationality since 1981. In 1998 the French Minister of Culture conferred on him the honour of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, while in 2002 the President of the Lebanese Republic awarded him the Medal of the Order of Merit, the highest decoration of his homeland. In February 2019 he received an honorary doctorate from the Université Catholique de Louvain.