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Freddy Kempf

Freddy Kempf

Freddy Kempf is one of today’s most successful pianists, performing to sell-out audiences all over the world. Exceptionally gifted with an unusually broad repertoire, Freddy has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer not afraid to take risks as well as a serious, sensitive and profoundly musical artist.

Born in London in 1977, Freddy made his concerto debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8, and, maintaining a strong link with the orchestra ever since, joined them for his conducting debut in 2011. Last season, Freddy play/directed the ensemble in a complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano concertos, giving 11 performances in many of the UK’s most significant venues.

Freddy came to national prominence in 1992 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. In 1998, his award of third, rather than first, prize in the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow provoked protests from the audience and an outcry in the Russian press, which proclaimed him "the hero of the competition". His international career was rapidly established and his unprecedented popularity with Russian audiences has since been reflected in numerous sold-out concerts and television broadcasts.

Many international debuts followed, with collaborations including such eminent ensembles and conductors as the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis and Kurt Sanderling, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniele Gatti, Matthias Bamert and Charles Dutoit, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Petrenko, La Scala Philharmonic/Chailly, St Petersburg Philharmonic/Temirkanov, Russian State Symphony/Sinaisky, Dresden Symphony/Herbig, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra/Ivor Bolton, Seattle Symphony/Schwarz, San Francisco Symphony/Tortelier, Philadelphia Orchestra/Sawallisch, NHK Symphony/Simonov, European Union Youth Orchestra/Ashkenazy, Prague Philharmonia/Belohlavek, the Residentie Orkest/Neeme Jaarvi and Luxembourg Philharmonic/Krivine.

Recent engagements have included concerts with RTVE Symphony Orchestra Madrid under Carlos Kalmar, the Vancouver Symphony under Bramwell Tovey and a collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and violinist/director Richard Tognetti at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Last season also saw Freddy’s debuts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard and the Nice Philharmonic under Mikhail Jurowski.

The current season opens with a major UK tour with the St Petersburg Symphony, preceded by a concert at the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonia. Freddy also opens the season at the Prague Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Ulster Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The season’s highlights also include debuts with the Helsinki and Copenhagen Philharmonic orchestras, as well as a UK tour with the Czech Philharmonic and a play/direct project with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra which takes Freddy to both the Budapest Spring Festival and the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. Further afield, Freddy is a favourite with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra where he returns for two major projects in the coming seasons.

A committed recitalist, Freddy has appeared on many of the world’s most important stages including, most recently, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, the Berlin Konzerthaus, Milan’s Conservatorio’s Sala Verdi, the Sociedad Filharmónica Bilbao, London’s Cadogan Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, the ABC Southbank in Brisbane and Sydney’s City Hall. The last two seasons have seen Freddy complete extensive recital tours of Japan including Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. In the current season, Freddy gives recitals at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, the City Concert Hall in Hong Kong and at the International Piano Series on London’s Southbank.

Freddy records exclusively for BIS Records. In 2010, his recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton was nominated for the prestigious Gramophone Concerto Award and described by the associated magazine as “A masterful Prokofievian pair”. This highly successful collaboration was followed by a recording of Gershwin’s works for piano and orchestra, released in 2012 and described in the press as “beautiful, stylish, light, and elegant… magnificent”. Meanwhile Freddy’s solo recital disc of Rachmaninov, Bach/Busoni, Ravel and Stravinsky, released in 2011, was praised by BBC Music Magazine for its “wonderful delicate playing and fine sense of style”. In July 2010, Freddy took up an invitation to participate in a recording project featuring a new work ‘Genesis Symphony’ by Tolga Kashif, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra.