The recital usefully — thrillingly — ended with Boulez’s earliest published work, the 12 Notations (1945), piano miniatures each 12 bars long and 12-note in idiom…in Alexander Soares’s brilliantly unbuttoned account, the crazed toccata of No 2 sounded sufficiently orchestral.
Following his Royal Festival Hall debut at age 23, British pianist Alexander Soares has garnered a reputation as a pianist who combines “huge intensity” (The Telegraph) with “diamond clarity and authority” (BBC Radio 3). Since winning the Gold Medal in the prestigious Royal Overseas League Competition in 2015 – and his subsequent selection as a solo artist by City Music Foundation – he has performed in major venues and festivals across the U.K., Europe and United States, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on numerous occasions.
Equally comfortable performing a wide range of repertoire, Alexander is quickly gaining a reputation as a leading exponent of contemporary French repertoire. In 2019 he signed with Rubicon Classics to release his debut album Notations & Sketches. Recorded in Milton Court and produced by Andrew Keener, the album features the solo piano repertoire of Boulez, Dutilleux & Messiaen. It has received widespread critical acclaim, including selection as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine (May 2019), and praise in BBC Music Magazine and International Piano Magazine.
Current and recent highlights include performances at The Wigmore Hall, St Johns Smith Square, and a residency at the Two Moors Festival. He has launched an educational outreach project The Notations Project with support from YCAT to inspire young composers, and will also be collaborating with emerging composer Gonçalo Gato on the LSO Soundhub scheme in 2019-20.
He combines a busy and varied performing schedule with lecturing, teaching, and research into memorisation following his doctorate at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
“Notations finds Soares matching virtuosity and exploratory curiosity, fierce competition for Pierre-Laurent Aimard and David Fray”
Praised as a pianist of “huge intensity” (The Telegraph), Alexander Soares is developing a reputation as an artist of formidable technique and virtuosity, with performances of “diamond clarity and authority” (BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’). Rising to international attention in 2015 after winning 1st Prize and Gold Medal in the prestigious Royal Overseas League competition, he was subsequently selected as an Artist by City Music Foundation. His performance in the BBCSO / BBC Radio 3 ‘Boulez at 90’ celebrations received widespread critical acclaim in the press, described as a “brilliantly unbuttoned account” (The Sunday Times) and “most memorable of all” (The Financial Times). Then followed a BBC Radio 3 broadcast of the rarely heard piano repertoire of John Tavener, and Alexander’s debuts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the latter performance applauded for its “explosive sound world, pulling out a rich array of colour and texture” (The Herald). He is a solo artist for Rubicon Classics, with his debut album Notations & Sketches featuring the piano works of Boulez, Dutilleux and Messiaen released earlier this year. Current and recent highlights include returns to the Wigmore Hall, The Wallace Collection, and his debut in the USA.
Contemporary French repertoire forms a major part of Alexander’s programming. Since a U.K. première of Tristan Murail’s chamber work in the BBCSO Total Immersion series, he has performed this repertoire in his debut recitals in the Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room, and the Bridgewater Hall. In 2014, he collaborated with Diego Masson performing Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Étoiles in Milton Court Concert Hall. The following year, he performed Boulez’s Dérive with David Corkhill in LSO St. Luke’s. His first album, of the solo works by Boulez, Dutilleux and Messiaen, produced by Andrew Keener, will be released in 2018. Following this, Alexander will be launching The Notations Project under the guidance of YCAT Sounding Board. Inspired by Boulez’s Notations, Alexander will embark on an educational outreach programme across schools in the U.K. working on miniature compositions by young composers. The project will culminate with performances of these student compositions, Boulez’s own Notations, and 12 new commissions by professional composers.
A keen chamber musician, Alexander has performed on numerous occasions in the Barbican, working with notable artists such as Boris Brovtsyn and Alexander Baillie. Collaborating with violinist Mihaela Martin, he debuted in Spain at the Palacio de Festivales, Sala Argenta. He has also toured France, in venues including Auditorium St. Germain and Opéra Rouen, performing Stravinsky’s Les Noces on Pleyel’s original double grand pianos, manufactured in the late nineteenth century. Alexander has greatly benefitted from the guidance of pianists including Richard Goode, Stephen Kovacevich, Stephen Hough, and Steven Osborne.
Alexander graduated with first class honours from Clare College, University of Cambridge. He then pursued postgraduate studies with Ronan O’Hora at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, achieving a Master’s with Distinction. In 2015 he completed a doctorate investigating memorisation strategies for contemporary piano repertoire, under the supervision of Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson. He is most grateful for generous support from the Guildhall School Trust, Help Musicians U.K., Countess of Munster Trust, Martin Musical Scholarship Foundation, Park Lane Group and Making Music. For more information please visit www.alexander-soares.com
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Barber Piano Concerto op. 38
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 op. 19
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 op. 58
Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 op. 21
Delius Piano Concerto in C minor
de Falla Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin Piano Concerto in F
Grieg Concerto in A minor
Messiaen Oiseaux Exotiques
Messiaen Des Canyons aux Etoiles
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K.467
Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor op. 54
Poulenc Concerto for two pianos in D minor (I)
Prokofiev Concerto No. 3 Op. 26
Ravel Piano Concerto in G
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 op. 18
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 op. 30
Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 op. 102