The French pianist Roger Muraro has emerged as an important, almost official interpreter of the piano music of Olivier Messiaen, having studied with the composer's wife, Yvonne Loriod. He has also been noted as a performer of Liszt and Ravel, combining virtuoso skills with a deep, almost personal connection to the music.
Muraro was born in Lyon, France, on May 13, 1959 to parents from the Venice region in Italy. He grew up in a small town near Lyon and tried to join a local football (soccer) team, but, turned down, was enrolled by his parents in a band instead, taking up the saxophone. At age 11 he enrolled at the school program of the Lyon Conservatory as a saxophonist, but he also studied the piano on his own and made enough progress that his saxophone teacher suggested he take formal lessons. He auditioned at the Paris Conservatory and did not succeed in the regular competition but was noticed by Loriod, who invited him to join her class. Muraro made rapid progress, winning several prizes at the Conservatory while financing his education by teaching saxophone at a local school. Muraro also studied with Eliane Richepin. He placed fourth in the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition and went on to a busy career as a recitalist and concerto soloist. At first he was especially identified with Messiaen's music, especially after the composer raved about his performance of the Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus, but he has also performed the music of most of the Romantic virtuosi: not only Liszt and Ravel, but also Rachmaninov, Schumann, Beethoven, Albéniz, Chopin, Schumann, and Debussy. He has appeared as soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and many French orchestras. Muraro recorded the Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus twice in the 1990s and by the late 2010s had issued about 20 albums, mostly on the Musidisc and Accord labels. A notable feature of his recording career is that some of his recorded performances were plagiarized and issued under the name of British pianist Joyce Hatto, under still-disputed circumstances; his playing earned critical praise in that form. In 2018 Muraro issued an album combining Debussy's 12 Etudes with a reconstruction of a Messiaen work, Fauvettes de l'Hérault - Concert des garrigues.
© James Manheim /TiVo