At the age of nine, Xavier de Maistre fortuitously fell in love with a local harp teacher. It would be a love that would lead to an important international career as a harpist and a life long relationship (that teacher is still an important part of Xavier's life, as godmother to his daughter).
Xavier, born in France and resident in Monte Carlo, belongs to an elite group of internationally celebrated musicians who redefine the bounds of what is possible on their chosen instrument. This tall, handsome and extremely talented musician left a prized job as Principal Harpist with the iconic Vienna Philharmonic almost 20 years ago to pursue a solo career and hasn't looked back.
Xavier’s performances let the harp sing with a distinctive new voice, creating worlds of exquisite sensitivity. He is strikingly charismatic, plays with breathtaking precision and often presents complex pieces of music that were originally written to be played by an entire orchestra.
"The harp has always fascinated people because it is a very beautiful instrument," says Xavier. "Of course you can make heavenly diaphanous sounds which are so distinctive but very few people imagine the wide range of colours which are possible with the harp. It can be percussive or produce a rich full tone too!
"I actually think of my instrument as an orchestra, trying to reproduce all the gorgeous sounds which I experienced when I was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic."
Australian audiences will have the chance to experience Xavier first-hand when he tours Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra from 2 to 15 May.
“Xavier is one of the most sought-after classical artists on the planet!” says Paul Dyer, Artistic Director. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him for our 2018 season."
What’s in store for audiences?
"To showcase this extraordinary artist, I’ve put together a romantic and sensuous program which is impressive and virtuosic, but also sublime and filled with lots of intense swoon moments," says Paul.
Xavier will play one of the greatest of all harp concertos, written by French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu (who some called ‘The French Mozart’), plus a solo bracket with three famous works transcribed for harp that Xavier has been taking to the world’s great concert halls.
“Composed by the Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega, Receurdos de la Alhambra is one of the most famous of all Spanish pieces and has been a part of the repertory of every major guitarist from Andrés Segovia to John Williams,” says Xavier. “Even when played on the guitar, this is a very demanding piece, but on the harp the sustained tremolando represents a particular technical challenge.”
He’ll also play a Spanish Dance by the most widely performed Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and a harp transcription of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s symphonic masterpiece, Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast.
“The Moldau has been my showpiece since the beginning of my career,” says Xavier.
“We are in for a treat with Xavier, but the Brandenburg has some showpieces on the bill as well,” says Paul, “including symphonies by Mozart and C.P.E. Bach and our first performance of Ravel’s famous, timeless and sublime Pavane pour une infante défunte.”
Steven Godbee Publicity
0408 706 099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
City Recital Hall
Wed 2, Fri 4, Sat 5, Wed 9, Fri 11 May at 7PM
Matinee Sat 5 May at 2PM
Ph: 1300 782 856 / (02) 9328 7581
Melbourne Recital Centre
Sat 12 May at 7PM
Sun 13 May at 5PM
Ph: 1300 782 856 / (02) 9328 7581
Or after 12 noon on Fri 11 May
Melbourne Recital Centre Box Office
Ph: (03) 9699 3333
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Tue 15 May at 7:30PM
Ph: 136 246
or (07) 3846 4444
Xavier de Maistre harp (France)
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Paul Dyer AO conductor and artistic director
THE HARPIST (THE MUSIC)
MOZART Symphony No. 20 in D Major, K. 133
BOIELDIEU Harp Concerto in C Major, Op. 82
from the album French Concertos for Harp Find out more
CPE BACH Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Wq. 183/1
RAVEL (arr. A PALMER) Pavane pour une infante défunte
DE FALLA Spanish Danse from La Vida Breve (solo harp)
TARREGA Recuerdos de la Alhambra (solo harp)
from the album Serenata Espanola Find out more
SMETANA Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast (solo harp)
from the album Moldau – The Romantic Solo Album Find out more
The official trailer for Xavier de Maistre's latest album, Serenata Española. Out now on Sony Classical.