Simon Ghraichy


Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917269826
Catnr: CC 72698
Release date: 27 November 2015
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72698
Release date
27 November 2015

""Fulminant, but also intimate is his interpretation of the b-minor sonata.""

Piano News, 01-5-2016

About the album

Schumann and Liszt met for the first time at one of Liszt’s concerts in Dresden on 16 March 1840, when the two musicians felt that they had known one another for twenty years, so familiar were they with each other’s music as well as with their published writings and respective reputations. Both men were writer-composers imbued with the spirit of literature and capable of expressing themselves just as well through words as through music. But many things set them apart: Liszt was living the life of a famous virtuoso à la mode while Schumann could not follow the same path. In his youth Schumann had imagined a career as a man of letters.

Schumann and Liszt were both fascinated by E. T. A. Hoffmann, a writer who protean genius of the Romantic imagination, being himself a composer, poet and critic. We know that Schumann identified with Johannes Kreisler, the fantastical and imaginary Kapellmeister who appears as Hoffmann’s alter ego in several short stories in the Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier of 1813–15 and his novel Kater Murr of 1819–21. As for Liszt, his features and his whole elusive bearing were regarded in the salons as Hoffmannesque – it was these very qualities that made him so hateful in the eyes of many of his contemporaries, including Clara Wieck. “Liszt is a veritable artist in the fullest meaning of that term,” wrote Théophile Gautier. “People have made much fun of his long hair, of the fact that he looks like a character straight out of Hoffmann, of his ecstatic glances, his convulsive gestures and of the way he moves like a man possessed by the devil.”

This recording represents through its pieces duality between poetry and virtuosity, extravagance and reclusiveness, melancholy yet sudden sunshine gleams.

De innerlijke band tussen poëzie en muziek
Er zijn veel overeenkomsten tussen Robert Schumann en Franz Liszt. Beide waren namelijk primair pianist en lieten veel composities na voor piano. Ook waren zij zowel schrijver als componist en waren zij in staat zich uit te drukken in zowel woorden als muziek. De componisten waren beide gefascineerd door E.T.A. Hoffmann, de bekende schrijver, componist, dichter en criticus. Schumann identificeerde zich met Johannes Kreisler, een fictieve kapelmeester die verschijnt als Hoffmanns alter ego in enkele van zijn verhalen. Liszts uiterlijke kenmerken en zijn ongrijpbare houding werden beschouwd als Hoffmannesque.

Simon Ghraichy is een jonge Libanees-Mexicaanse pianist, opgeleid in Europa. Zijn carrière maakte een vliegende start toen criticus Robert Hughes een lovende recensie over hem schreef in Wall Street Journal. Sindsdien wordt hij op de grootste festivals uitgenodigd en speelt hij op de bekendste podia over de hele wereld. Onder het motto “de innerlijke band tussen poëzie en muziek” presenteert hij op dit album een sprekende combinatie van Liszt en Schumann.

Simon Ghraichy kann mit seinen 30 Jahren auf eine aufregende und weltweite Karriere zurückblicken: ein Studium am Concervatoire National Paris und der Sibelius-Akademie Helsinki, Auftritte bei Fesitvals und mit Sinfonieorchestern von Mexiko über Südkorea bis nach Mali. Er spielte mit Cyprien Katsaris und Dominique de Willencourt.

2015/2016 werden jedoch einen ganz besonderen Stellenwert in seinem Leben einnehmen. Er spielte auf dem Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, auf dem Baalbeck Internationalen Festival und er wurde auch für das Bard Music Festival in New York eingeladen, wo er zusammen mit dem American Symphony Orchestra spielte. Außerdem ist er Bestandteil des Programms des Lisztomania-Festivals in Frankreich. Zudem gibt er erstmals Konzerte in der Carnegie Hall in New York im Oktober 2015, im Kennedy Center in Washington im März 2016 und in der Berliner Philharmonie im Herbst 2016.

Auf der vorliegenden Einspielung fröhnt er seiner Leidenschaft: dem Werk Liszts. Abgerundet wird das Programm durch Schumanns 'Kreisleriana', die die Faszination beider Komponisten für E.T.A. Hoffmann als verbindendes Element mit ins Spiel bringt.


Simon Ghraichy is a 29-year-old Lebanese-Mexican pianist who has lived and studied in Europe. After being the student of Hortense Cartier-Bresson in the Boulogne Conservatory, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSMDP) in 2006 to study with Professor Michel Beroff and Daria Hovora. Moreover, after attending a masterclass with Tuija Hakkila, he decided to follow her and study simultaneously in the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki in Finland. In 2010 he graduated from the Paris Conservatory and received a Masters degree with “honorific mention”. Simon Ghraichy has been performing recitals, chamber music concerts and as a soloist with orchestrafor many years now.

His career took a jumpstart in 2010 with the publication of a critique of Robert Hughes, a cultural journalist writing for the Wall Street Journal, who has particularly appreciated Simon Ghraichy’s interpretation of the Réminiscences de Don Juan of Franz Liszt. He has performed recitals all over the world. Therefore, one could have heard him in France in the Musée d’Orsay, in the Salle Cortot and Salle Marshall in Paris and at different summer festivals. In Europe he has performed in the Vredenburg Hall (The Netherlands), the Temppeliaukiokirkko (Finland), the Crossing Keyboards Festival (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and the EXIT Festival (Serbia). He also performs oversees, in Mexico (Sala Felipe Villanueva in Toluca, Centro Cultural Mexiquense Bicentenario in Mexico City, Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Auditorium San Pedro in Monterrey), Brazil (Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janero), Australia (Steinway Foundation and the Roseville Music Club in Sydney, the Burnie Arts Center), Lebanon (Saint-Joseph Church and the Assembly Hall) and South Africa (UniSA Festival in Pretoria). Thus, he has performed over the five continents. As a soloist, Simon Ghraichy is regularly invited to perform with various orchestras: State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Cuban National Symphonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica do Brasil, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, State of Almaty Symphony Orchestra, Guadalajara Juvenile Symphony Orchestra, Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, Sessession Orchestra.

In 2015 he made his debut at the International Lyrical Festival of Aix-en- Provence in France, the Baalbeck International Music Festival in Lebanon and the Bard Music Festival in New York. His recital program “Liszt & the Americas” was spotted by the American organization and producer New York Concert Artists. They invited Simon Ghraichy to perform a solo recital in Carnegie Hall in New York City, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and in the Philharmonie Berlin.

His piano repertoire is very varied: while he’s attracted to main classical and romantic European repertoire (his first CD recording is dedicated to Liszt transcriptions and Opera paraphrases), Simon Ghraichy loved discovering lesser-known repertory like works by Latin American composers (Villa- Lobos, Ponce, Gottschalk, Guarnieri). From his Finnish years, he still remembers the introspective piano pages by Sibelius. His residency at the Steinway Foundation of Sydney offered him the occasion to discover Australian and Anglo-Saxon contemporary composers.

Simon Ghraichy has won numerous prizes and international distinctions, particularly in the BNDES (Banco do Brasil) International Piano Competition, the Manuel M. Ponce International Piano Competition in Mexico City and the Torneo Internazionale di Musica in Rome. He is a laureate of the Gyorgy Cziffra Foundation with whom he collaborates yearly in Senlis (France) and different partner festivals.

He is also supported by Sponsors (AXA insurances) and foundations (Luc Walter Foundation).


"Fulminant, but also intimate is his interpretation of the b-minor sonata."
Piano News, 01-5-2016

"The differences between Schumann and Liszt are big, but by staying within the story  of highlighting the dramatic opposites between Schumanns alter ego’s Eusebius and Florestan, Ghraichy unites them. Very beautiful. Liszts piano transcription of the Allegretto from Beethovens Seventh symphony completes this CD. Ghraichy turns it into a gracious dance, somewhat melancholic but with a hopeful ending.”
Klassieke Zaken, 01-2-2016

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