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Jean Rondeau

Harpsichordist Jean Rondeau is a star on the instrument, having won several major prizes for his first few recordings. He is primarily recognized for his interpretation of Baroque harpsichord music, as on albums like 2015's Bach Imagine, the Diapason d'Or-winning Scarlatti Sonatas, and 2021's Melancholy Grace. He also maintains a career as a jazz pianist and film music composer. Unrelated to the race car driver of the same name, Rondeau was born in Paris on April 23, 1991. When he was six, he heard a harpsichord on the radio and demanded to know how to make that sound. For the next ten years, he took lessons from Blandine Verlet. Rondeau went on to the Paris Conservatory and then to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studied with James Johnstone and Carole Cerasi. Several awards announced a forthcoming major talent, including a first prize at the harpsichord competition of the Musica Antiqua Festival in Bruges, Belgium, and a second prize at the Prague Spring International Harpsichord Competition, in 2012, and the Young Soloist award in the Francophone Public Radio Competition in 2014. On the strength of these, Rondeau was signed to the Erato label later that year. His recitals have included a critically acclaimed debut at the French embassy in Washington, D.C., and a performance at the Festival des Saintes. Rondeau performs with the period-instrument ensemble Nevermind, founded with three friends from the Paris Conservatory, and with the jazz ensemble Note Forget. Heard with François Lazarevitch on a 2014 Alpha recording of Bach's flute sonatas, Rondeau made his solo debut on Erato with the recital Bach Imagine in 2015. He followed that up with Vertigo, an album featuring music by Rameau and Pancrace Royer, Bach Dynastie, an album of keyboard concertos by members of the Bach family, and an album of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. The latter album won a Diapason d'Or. He also composed the soundtrack to the German film Paula, about painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, in 2016, and that music was also released on Erato. Barricades, an album of French Baroque pieces with lutenist Thomas Dunford, arrived in 2020. In 2021, he released the introspective Melancholy Grace, performing pieces by John Bull, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Luzzasco Luzzaschi.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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