20 October 2016
11 January 2017
The internationally acclaimed composer, organist and improviser Thierry Escaich was born in 1965. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where since 1992 he has taught both improvisation and composition. In 1997 he was appointed staff organist at the Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris, succeeding Maurice Duruflé. The musician frequently tours. 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 other countries.
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. 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. He also composed music for a new production by the New York City Ballet, which premiered in New York in May 2010.
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). In 2013 he was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France.
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.
For several seasons Escaich was the staff composer of the Orchestre National de Lille and the Orchestre National de Lyon as well as the Orchestre de Bretagne.
Highlights of the 2015-16 season include Escaich’s debut performing with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and other concerto appearances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony. As recitalist Escaich performs widely, including at the BBC Proms, Royal Festival Hall, San Francisco Symphony Hall and performs improvisations to silent films at the Montreal Symphony Hall, the Philharmonie de Paris and Auditorium de Lyon. Premieres this season include a new orchestral work for the Cincinnati Symphony, a chamber work for the Great Mountains Music Festival and Litanies pour un Jubilé, a piece for choir, organ and ensemble for Strasbourg Cathedral.
The diverse nature of his activities is reflected in his extensive discography. Most of the musician’s recordings are released by the Accord/Universal and Indésens labels, and many of these have received prizes and awards. The disc Les Nuits hallucinées (2011), recorded when Escaich was a regular guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon, received numerous accolades including the Choc de l’année prize from Classica magazine.
The musician is represented by the Intermusica agency.