David Lively

David Lively © Christine Cabirol

David Lively


David Lively, American-born concert pianist, began his public career at the age of fourteen, performing Khatchaturian’s virtuoso Piano Concerto with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Subsequently, Lorin Maazel invited him to perform with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra and following engagements included such ensembles as the English Chamber Orchestra, with Sir Simon Rattle, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Orchestra of France in collaboration with such prestigious conductors as Sir Colin Davis, Erich Leinsdorf, Lovro von Matacic, Kurt Sanderling, Sergiu Comissiona, Ferdinand Leitner, Walter Weller, Leonard Slatkin, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, etc. An exceptionally gifted artist, David Lively has acquired over eighty concertos in his repertoire, of which he has recorded over ten for labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Koch Schwann and Marco Polo.

Especially interested in the American heritage of the twentieth century, David Lively focused particularly on the masterpieces of Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland, with whom he studied them personally and consequently recorded. Meanwhile, his enthusiasm for such neglected masterpieces such as Busoni’s and Furtwängler’s monumental Piano Concertos led to recordings of both, the one of Furtwängler’s being the first of the unabridged and definitive version. This curiosity has led to his yet to be released recording of Joseph Marx's two monumental piano concertos of the same period. He has also devoted his attention to contemporary production, having given the European premiere of “Riverrun” by Takemitsu with conductor Kent Nagano, the French premiere of “90+” for piano solo by Elliott Carter as well as “Cendres” by Kaija Saariaho, and just recently, the world premiere of the chamber concerto “Cries” by William Blank, written especially for him, and Michael Travlos’ Double Concerto with the Moscow Radio Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedosseyev. William Blank's upcoming Piano Concerto, commissioned by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva will be written expressly for him.

Very involved in chamber music, organising the Saint Lizier Festival devoted to this repertoire in the French Pyrenees every summer, David Lively has given numerous concerts with the Melos and Borodine Quartets, violinists Gil Shaham, Myriam Fried, Augustin Dumay and pianists Martha Argerich, Eugene Istomin, among many others.

David Lively studied in the United States and in France (at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris) where he currently resides. Prize-winner in numerous international competitions, including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud where he met Claudio Arrau, to become one of his rare pupils, the Queen Elisabeth and the Tchaikowsky where he garnered the special prize for contemporary music, David Lively has also been awarded the Dino Ciani Prize of the Scala of Milan in 1977.

Having taught at the National Superior Music Conservatoire of Paris, David Lively has also been invited to give master classes at the Hochschule in Vienna, the Royal Scottish Academy of Glasgow and the Chapelle Royale in Belgium. From 1998 to 2001, he was in charge of one of the concert pianists classes at the University of Music in Vienna. He is also regularly invited on international juries for competitions such as the Queen Elisabeth and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud.

A total command of the keyboard allied with an insatiable curiosity allow David Lively to master all styles from the Renaissance to today and to perform such monuments as Bach’s entire Art of the Fugue.

During the past three years devoted particularly to pedagogy, David Lively has given great consideration to the role of the keyboard in the history of music. This has led to redefinition of his role as virtuoso and the development of several exciting projects.

One of these is the rediscovery of the Romantic chamber concerto, a surprisingly well developed genre in the beginning of the nineteenth century. Study of this specific genre has led to reconsideration and performance of several works well known in more amplified versions and the rediscovery of works little-known or just recently republished. This project is offered as well on historic Romantic instruments.

One other project of great potential and innovation is Prismorphism, an original interpretive approach developed personally by David Lively in collaboration with Jean-Baptiste Barrière, composer specialised in computer research, involving synthesizer and computer programming. This installation-performance is proposed in inspiring architectural sites that allow for spatialisation and projection of Impressionistic masterpieces. Just one, but very essential, objective is to allow these new techniques to attract and convince the general public.

These musical adventures show David Lively to be on the cutting edge of musical performance.