Dominique Merlet, pianist

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?

My three great professors : Roger-Ducasse, Nadia Boulanger, Louis Hiltbrand

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

The testimony of two giants: Egon Petri’s and Heinrich Neuhaus’s recordings .

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

To play piano and organ in the same concert

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

A public piano recital for the RTBF in Brussels on the 28/11/1992

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Beethoven’s sonatas, Chopin’s and Liszt’s major pieces, Ravel’s major pieces, Bach’s Preludes and Fugues

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

According to the invitations

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

No! Every concert is important

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Bartók .

What is your most memorable concert experience?

A double-recital Piano and Organ in Paris/Festival du Marais on the 10/07/1981 at Notre-Dame des Blancs-Manteaux

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

The quality and density of SILENCE!

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

To follow the complete melodic lines inside of a powerful architecture.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

At home with my wife

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I am never completely happy!

What is your most treasured possession?

Original paintings, etchings or drawings and many musical facsimiles of Chopin, Beethoven and others.

What is your present state of mind?

To stay in good physical conditions as long as possible!

Born in Bordeaux, Dominique Merlet was a pupil of Roger-Ducasse, Rose Lejour, Nadia Boulanger and Louis Hiltbrand. After three first prizes at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris he became the winner of the prestigious Geneva International Competition in 1957 as well as the special prize awarded to the most accomplished laureate of all disciplines on the programme that year.

It was the start of a career that was going to develop quickly on all continents. He played in most European countries as well as the United States, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, China, Australia and Japan and took part in many important festivals such as Paris, Berlin, Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Besançon, Shanghai, Seoul Spring Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron and Duszniki. He has worked with notable conductors such as Charles Münch, Paul Paray, Jean Martinon, Armin Jordan, Moshe Atzmon, Richard Hickox, Sergiu Comissiona, Yutaka Sado, Xu Zhong, Cristian Mandeal, Ronald Zollmann and Jin Wang.

His recordings include Schumann, Weber, Brahms, Bartok, Liszt, Satie, Ravel (complete works), Chopin, Debussy, Fauré, Roger-Ducasse, Kirchner and have won him distinctions such as “Grand Prix du Disque” and “Diapason d’Or”. His CD devoted to “The Golden Age of the Piano”, recorded on his american Steinway of 1895, fascinated many great musicians and pianos lovers.

Dominique Merlet has also participated intensely in producing great young pianists, firstly from 1974 to 1992, with his class at CNSM Paris, from which emerged several international laureates who are now enjoying brilliant careers, and secondly from giving lectures and master-classes in such countries as England, Germany, Austria, the Scandinavian countries, South Korea, Japan, Australia and China. He decided to cease this activity in 2004 in order to fully concentrate on his concert performances. Nevertheless, he is Visiting Professor at the Torino Conservatory (Italy) and has for the last 5 years been teaching at the summer Academy of the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Dominique Merlet frequently participates at international piano juries and he is the President of the “Centre International Nadia and Lili Boulanger”. His impressive accomplishments have been rewarded by the French Ministry of Culture with the title of Officier des Arts et des Lettres.


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