Frank Dupree’s DebutLondon Philharmonic Orchestra
Frank Dupree | pianist
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Frank Dupree Makes “Unforgettable” UK Debut with the LPO

Pianist Frank Dupree delighted audiences on his UK debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday 21 October, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Peter Reed (Classical Source) was full of praise, describing the concert as “thrilling” and “unforgettable”, but he reserved his highest praise for the young German pianist, writing:


“The twenty-six-year-old Dupree has been a jazz percussionist with, to put it mildly, eclectic interests, but his engagement with Beethoven showed that he is in no way spreading himself thin. This Concerto roams from Mozartean minor-mode gravitas to moonlit German romanticism to the musical equivalent of stand-up comedy, and Dupree embraced the whole spectrum with unfailing insight, authority and an irresistible dash of glamour. His assumption of control in the first movement swaggered imposingly and he dispatched the cadenza with excoriating ferocity – he was really pushing Beethoven’s expression to the limit, but without exaggeration for its own sake. There was a vivid sense of danger in the music, but Dupree’s retreating from the spotlight, as in the noodling passage-work at the start of the development, were just as enthralling. He has a broad tonal range and a sinuous, rhythmic technique that produced some electrifying broken octaves and muscular trills – and he goes easy on the pedal. The slow movement, which Dupree shrouded with a lovely veiled sound, had unashamedly bel canto aspirations, the piano suspended in Beethoven’s dream-world, but the gloves were off for a breathtaking battle of wits in the Finale.

Throughout, Prieto had defined boundaries with elegant but firm command, accommodating Dupree with immense tact but raising the orchestral opposition’s game in encouraging some beautifully regulated woodwind playing – the bassoon’s role in the first movement and a bassoon and clarinet duo in the Finale were briefly so characterful and apposite you wondered if you could take in any more delight. It was a very auspicious introduction to Frank Dupree’s artistry.”

Biography

German pianist Frank Dupree recently came to international attention as the laureate prize winner of the 2014 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, captivating the judges with his musical maturity, refined technique and ability to draw a wide spectrum of sound and colour from the keyboard. Emanuel Ax has remarked that he is a ‘sincere, feeling, and enormously interesting artist, whom no doubt will be a major presence amongst the leading musicians of his generation’.

Initially trained as a jazz percussionist, Frank celebrates the breadth and depth of the piano repertoire, with a particular enthusiasm for the music of the 20th century as well as the music of living composers, having already been chosen to work closely with Péter Eötvös (Erdenklavier – Himmelklavier, world premiere recording in 2015 for the GENUIN classics label) and Wolfgang Rihm (Con Piano? Certo!, world premiere performance with conductor Justin Brown and the Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe in June 2015).

Frank commences his 2017/2018 season with his UK debut, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlos Miguel Prieto conducting. The season will also mark his third and final season as artist-in-residence of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, where he has curated a cycle of creative concert programmes, play/directing all five Beethoven concerti in the process. Other season highlights include concerts at London's Wigmore Hall, Brussels BOZAR, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Saffron Hall, Bristol Colston Hall, Baden Baden Festspielhaus, Ravenna's Teatro Alighieri, and with the Staatskapelle Weimar, Essen Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic (play/direct), Duisburg Philharmonic, and the Wrocław Philharmonic.

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