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27 September 2019
Life without music would be inconceivable to me, but I always knew that I could not limit my life to playing an instrument.
Over nearly twenty years, I have given hundreds of concerts as both a soloist and with chamber ensembles. I was lucky enough to fulfil many dreams: studying with Tatiana Zelikman in Moscow; discovering and performing true masterpieces; playing on extraordinary instruments in fabulous acoustic settings; and sharing the stage with many first-rate musicians who have left me with lasting memories, including pianist Alexander Kobrin, baritone Laurent Naouri, violinists Svetlin Roussev and Alena Baeva, and cellists François Salque and Boris Andrianov.
But complete mastery of a concert programme for any given performance means playing it time and time again in public. And to do that, one must accept a certain lifestyle, one that leaves little time for family and for exploring other passions.
Now that I am the father of two little boys, I often play hide and seek. I also regularly don an Indiana Jones outfit of a new type, and I set off to track down forgotten recordings of legendary artists. Discovering these treasure chests that have remained unopened for decades, sharing such special times with the descendants of Navarra, Gilels and Peterson, hearing these gems for the first time and then restoring them – all these joys cannot be described.
At this point in time, I have no doubt that my choices, the new emotions I experience and my demands on myself mean that I cannot round out my life more fully as a concert performer, at least for the moment.
Previously, I had never thought of recording an album without giving a companion concert. But a certain person took it into his head to convince me otherwise, and he was definitely the only one who could have succeeded!
I am grateful to Michel Navarra, to whom I dedicate this album, for his friendship, intelligence, humour and legendary doggedness, without whom this recording of Scarlatti’s sonatas would never have come into being.
Rather than pursue the career in science that was open to him, Frédéric D’Oria-Nicolas decided to devote himself completely to music. He moved to Moscow, where he studied under Tatiana Zelikman, whose guidance he had been receiving in parallel to his studies since the age of thirteen. In 1998, he joined her class at the Gnessin Music Academy in Moscow. After seven years in Russia, D’Oria-Nicolas was the first European to graduate from this illustrious academy. His career has been studded with numerous awards: First Prize of the Mrvaninsky Competition, Saint Petersburg; Révélation Classique de l’Adami, prizewinner of the Bleustein-Blanchet Fondation pour la Vocation, and awards given by the Fondation Charles Oulmont and the Mécénat Musical Société Générale In 2009, ResMusica magazine named him artist of the year.
With a repertoire that includes over 380 works, D’Oria-Nicolas has given concert performances in some 24 countries.
His recording of the works for two pianos by Rachmaninov with pianist Alexander Kobrin was named best chamber music album of the year for the International Classical Music Awards.
D’Oria-Nicolas has always been fascinated by sound techniques. In 2008 he created his own label, Fondamenta, distributed by Sony Music. With his passion for revealing new talents, his most notable productions include the first albums by Yan Levionnois (Victoires de la Musique finalist), Thomas Leleu (Victoire de la Musique award winner) and Jules Matton (winner of the Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs).
In 2015, he developed Phoenix Mastering®, a unique technique for the restoration of analogic recordings. He travels through Europe in search of previously unpublished recordings of legendary artists and has created “The Lost Recordings” collection. The first eleven volumes, including artists Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, André Navarra, Emil Gilels and Sarah Vaughan, have enjoyed resounding success worldwide.