Beate Perrey

Piano Performance

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  • Perrey, Beate


A truly interdisciplinary and charismatic artist, German pianist BEATE PERREY transcends the conventions of Classical music by performing and speaking about music in ways that matter. An intuitive, naturally impassioned performer, Beate Perrey draws on her profound musical knowledge to deepen her audiences’ experience of musical creativity. She achieved her professional standing in both solo recital and lecture-recital in Europe, the US and South America, as Professor of Music at Cambridge University, the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the EHESS in Paris, in addition to her widely cited books and many articles focussing on the fierce beauty and unique power of Classical music. A much sought-after speaker and performer, at ease in both large (1000 seats) and small venues alike, Beate Perrey lends her captivating stage presence and eloquence to both specialist and non-specialist audiences worldwide.

As one of today’s Classical pianists passionate about mutually enriching interdisciplinary performance projects, she has worked with internationally renowened artists such as US video artist Bill Viola (in connection with Peter Sellars’ and Salonen’s greatly admired Tristan production, with British theatre director Simon McBurney of Théatre Complicité, and US multimedia artist Mike Kelly, among others. Her current projet-à-venir focuses on the intricate rhythms of J.S.Bach’s solo keyboard music as re-interpreted by a non-Western dancer, in particular the stylised movements of a Japanese Nôh dancer.

Born in France, brought up in Germany, educated at Harvard (USA), Kyoto (Japan) and Cambridge (UK), and presently based in Paris, Beate Perrey’s cosmopolitan and multi-lingual background informs her whole innovative approach towards classical music making, sharing it as an all-embracing, universal art form for people from around the globe, regardless of age, cultural or ethnic background.

Highlights of 2009-11 included appearances as soloist in London, Paris and Buenos Aires. In 2010 she was invited Artist in Residence at the prestigeous Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan, USA, for a series of solo recitals and lecture recitals including not only a solo recital but also piano masterclasses and a lecture-recital in Corson Auditorium focusing on Schumann’s piano music and its sense of intrinsic poetry. Her passion for Schumann informs her pianism as well as her published research that has been such an important feature of recent musicology and music theory. Her first book about Schumann’s Dichterliebe, published by CUP in 2007, was a sensation which she followed a year later with The Companion to Schumann (CUP 2008). Here she sheperded some of the foremost Schumann authors into a new picture of the composer and his music. Considered one of the world’s authorities on Schumann’s music, her leadership roles have included being one of the main architects of arts and humanities studies’ interdisciplinary development at the University of Cambridge where she was founding Director of the international Cross-Currents and Resistances Project from 2001–2008 (7 years), sponsored by the Center of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities of Cambridge University generating over twenty international events and performances in Europe and the US on themes such as ‘Schubert’, ‘Lieder’, ‘The Arts and the Senses‘ and ‘Why Art Matters’, generating the Oxford Legenda Press book publication In(ter)discipline.

Beate Perrey’s own first teacher Emma Sagebiel, was one of the last pupils of German piano legend Wilhelm Kempff. Her subsequent teachers Sulamita Aronovski of the Royal Academy of Music London, Jacques Rouvier of the Paris Conservatory and Jean Fassina passed on to her what can be called the best of the Russian-Polish heritage of piano playing. Masterclasses with, among others, Pavel Gililov, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and Leon Fleisher and Jorma Panula, added to formative experiences such as specialist music study both at the prestigeous Interlochen Arts Academy, USA, and Cologne Conservatory. She completed her music studies on full scholarship as a graduate student at Harvard University and with a PhD from Cambridge University on Schumann’s famous song cycle Dichterliebe (published by Cambridge University Press in 2007). Recipient of numerous scholarships and distinctions, she was one of the very first women ever to be elected Rouse Ball Fellow at Trinity College Cambridge, followed by a further election as Music Fellow at Christ’s College Cambridge.

Beate Perrey has taught music at the University of Cambridge for 10 years and was university director of doctoral studies in music for 5 years. She brings an extraordinary breath of experience to her role an an internationally recognized music pedagogue. This includes having directed an interdisciplinary seminar at UCL as Honorary Research Fellow and serving as an acclaimed visiting professor in Music at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris doctoral program where she offered a seminar on « Words and Music ». Her piano pupils are music graduates from around the world, including the Juilliard School, Paris Conservatory, Royal Academy of Music as well as particularly talented young people. Making their way to Perrey’s studio in the heart of Paris, they study here to perfect their technical and musical studies as well as deepen their aesthetic and analytical understanding of the repertoire they perform,

Based in Paris, giving recitals and masterclasses in many European countries, South America and the US, Beate Perrey is passionately committed to music education and is an ardent supporter of various humanitarian causes. This showed in her friendship with the late Edward Said, leading to her involvement with Al Kamandjati and the Barenboim-Said Foundation, including teaching music in the Middle East since 2009. Her particular attachement to Asia, especially Japan and China, energizes a 2013 lecture-recital tour taking her to several cities in the People’s Republic of China.

Her new CD is to include Beethoven’s late sonata op. 110 as well as Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood op. 15.

participating in

  • Classical:NEXT 2013