Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I grew up immersed in music: my mother was always (quite passionately) humming all kinds of melodies and plays the cello, my sister sings and played the harpsichord, and my father is a keen amateur classical musician. Music was central to my home life, and as it was part of my surroundings, it became part of me. There wasn’t really a “Eureka” moment when it came to picking this career, it became progressively more serious until I realised that it was what I wanted to devote my professional life to.
I would say the most important influences for me have been mostly amateurs, people who truly love music and speak about it with excitement and enthusiasm.
It is so easy to get discouraged and frustrated once music becomes one’s profession, I find it essential to frequently be reminded of how beautiful and special our task is.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
What has been most difficult was staying focused on my path without worrying what one ought to do each step of the way. We are bombarded with information and it can be challenging to be confident that one is doing the right thing at the right time, and to avoid being consumed by the thought that maybe one should be more like a certain artist or another. In this profession, you constantly have a lot of faith in yourself to stand your ground, especially throughout your education, as a lot of people try to impose their views on you rather than helping you hone your own vision.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
My debut album, which is released on January 15th 2021! I have worked very hard on it both pre- and post-production and I am very excited for its release.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
That may not be for me to tell, but I have always felt particularly closed to Schumann, Bach and Ravel (the second movement of his concerto in G might be my favourite thing to perform, treacherous as is it!)
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
I think everything one does off stage provides inspiration on stage, anything from a walk in the park to a meal with friends! Music is life and life is music!
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I try to keep things as varied as possible (for my own sake). It’s very important to me to present programmes that make sense as a whole, with some kind of logic, and which provide continuity to the listener. I mostly pick works that I feel very strongly about when it comes to performing: there are many works I love that do not love me back!
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
My two favourite concert venues are probably the Salle Cortot in Paris and the Wigmore Hall in London, for very similar reasons: they are the perfect size for a concert that can be both intimate and grandiose. They both have uniquely crafted acoustics and incredible Steinway Pianos and no two concerts ever feel the same. In the case of the Salle Cortot, it is also tightly knit with my Alma Mater, the École Normale, which only accentuates my affection for it.
What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?
I think we need to bridge the gap between classical music and all other kinds of music. The more people feel that classical music is somehow separate from the rest, the more they will feel excluded from it. Film music is a perfect example: many unknowingly love classical pieces through films, which just goes to show that the stigma that surrounds classical music plays an important part in its exclusivity.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony performed by the LSO at the Barbican: I was glued to my seat and remained speechless for the few hours that followed.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Being able to only pursue projects you’re excited about, play with musicians that inspire you in as many different surroundings as possible!
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Authenticity, honesty, courage and empathy.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Bechstein at home in Paris! It’s quite an old piano and we have developed a real bond.
What is your present state of mind?
As most artists right now, I am anxious, and quite frankly a bit disappointed to see how easily culture is being sacrificed. I am however hopeful that things will turn around and that this period will lead into a fresh beginning for the arts around the world.
Antoine Préat’s debut album ‘Polyphony’ is released on 15 January 2021 on the Ulysses Arts label. It includes works by Bach, Chopin and Scriabin.
Antoine is a recently-appointed City Music Foundation artist.
Described by the French Radio as “one of the most gifted young artists of the youngest generation” and “a young artist with a distinctive voice”, London-based pianist Antoine Préat has been invited to perform in prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, Salle Gaveau, Salle Cortot, Paris Beaux Arts Museum, Frederyk Chopin Institute as well as throughout Europe and the United States, being featured on radios such as the BBC, France Musique, Scala Radio and TRT Radio 3.
Antoine’s debut album “Polyphony” inspired by his deep attachment to Baroque and polyphonic works is released on 15th January 2021 with Ulysses Arts. It features works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Scriabin.
Since his debut with the University Orchestra of Alicante, Antoine has performed with European orchestras such as Tonerl Chamber Orchestra, Sainsbury Soloists, Academy Festival Orchestra, London Student Orchestra and Resonate Chamber Ensemble.
Performance highlights include festivals such as the Nohant Chopin Festival, Lisztomanias, Chopin à Bagatelle, Les Concerts d’Esther, Marathon Chopin (for his bicentenary), Les Nuits du Piano in Paris, IMS Prussia Cove, Encuentro de Santander.