Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
David Fray: A Frenchman Makes His Mark on German Classics
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Since he emerged on the scene five years ago, the French pianist David Fray has particularly made his mark through recitals and recordings of German composers like Schubert and Bach. As he tells Jeff Spurgeon, "I'm French because my passport is French but my main love, in terms of music and culture, is German."
The 29-year-old Fray not only resists the typcasting applied to French pianists -- that their only concern is elegance and refinement -- but he also insists that he's nothing like Glenn Gould.
Critics and fans have often compared Fray with Gould, the late Canadian pianist known for his personal, eccentric style. They say he echoes some of Gould's signature mannerisms -- bending low over the piano, adding facial gestures, occasionally humming along as he plays. Fray maintains that such comparisons are "superficial," and that his real passions involve juxtaposing disparate composers and styles, as in his 2007 album of Bach and Boulez.
Fray also discusses his formative influences (including seeing Disney's Fantasia at age three); his marriage to actress Chiara Muti, daughter of conductor Riccardo Muti; and what needs to be done to ensure the future of classical music.