The internationally acclaimed composer, organist and improviser Thierry Escaich is one of the present day’s most outstanding musicians. He was born in 1965; in 1992 he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied both improvisation and composition; in 1997 he was appointed organist at the Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris, succeeding Maurice Duruflé. Escaich tours internationally as a performing artist and composer, delighting audiences with his vast classical repertoire in addition to his own works and improvisations. He has performed in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Tokyo, Berlin, Vienna (the Konzerthaus and Musikverein), Budapest, St Petersburg and London (the BBC Proms) and at numerous festivals in France and abroad.
Escaich’s improvisations for piano and organ provided the music for Frank Borzage’s film Seventh Heaven, having been commissioned by the Louvre in 1999.
As a composer, Escaich first came to prominence in 1989 when he received the Blumenthal Prize from the Fondation franco-américaine Florence Blumenthal. Moreover, his early works have also won great acclaim, among them his saxophone concerto Le Chant des ténèbres and the piece Ad ultimas laudes for mixed chorus. To date, Thierry Escaich has written more than one hundred compositions. The musician’s numerous prizes include the Prix des lycéens (2002), the Grand Prix de la musique symphonique from the Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (2004) and three Victoires de la musique awards in the category “Composer of the Year” (2003, 2006 and 2011).
Escaich generally writes for the organ, though he also enjoys exploring uncharted musical territory, composing works in all genres and forms. His inimitable style can be seen in his more intimate works as well as major opuses, among them Chaconne (2000), Vertiges de la croix for orchestra (2004) and the oratorio Le Dernier Évangile (1999). Escaich recently composed music for the New York City Ballet, which premiered in New York in May 2010.
For several seasons Escaich was the staff composer of the Orchestre National de Lille and the Orchestre National de Lyons as well as the Orchestre de Bretagne. In September 2011 he took up the post of Associate Composer with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.
Thierry Escaich’s music is performed by acclaimed ensembles across the globe, among them the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester (Berlin), the Mariinsky Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris. On international tours his works have been performed by the Chorus of Radio France, the BBC Chorus, the Trio Dali and the Voce quartet as well as by Christoph Eschenbach, Lothar Zagrosek, Paul Meyer, Iveta Apkalna and John Mark Ainsley.
The musician has an extensive discography. As a performer he recorded the disc of concert improvisations Organ Spectacular. Among recordings of his compositions by other musicians, Organ Concerto No 1 (Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Olivier Latry as soloist, 2002, Diapason d’or prize), Lettres mêlées (Trio Wanderer, 2009), Miroir d’ombres (Orchestre National de Lille, Gaultier and Renaud Capuçon as soloists, 2007, Choc de l’année prize from Monde de la musique magazine), Exultet (Sequenza 9.3 vocal ensemble, 2006) and Les Nuits hallucinées (David Grimal, Nora Gubisch, Thierry Escaich, Orchestre National de Lyon, Choc de l’année prize from Classica magazine) stand out in particular.
All of the musician’s recordings are released by Accord/Universal.