Eric Le Van

Piano
le-van

Eric Le Van

Eric Le Van’s pianism is mesmerizing. It has everything: sensitivity, expressive tone, shading, superb finish, and faultless taste and style.” With those words, the American Record Guide’s David Mulbury echoed the sentiments of many of his colleagues who have likewise found in Eric Le Van a musician of exemplary depth and power. Indeed, Bryce Morrison of Gramophone extolled him as “a brilliant pianist, youthful, ardent and communicative, magically fleet and affectionate.”

Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Le Van made his debut there at age sixteen in a program of Brahms, a composer with whom he has a special affinity. After early studies with Earle Voorhies, former pupil of Alexander Siloti, he attended the University of Southern California where he worked with Daniel Pollack. Later, he entered the master class of Rudolf Buchbinder in Basel, Switzerland. Shortly thereafter he won a Fulbright scholarship to continue his training with Professor Karl-Heinz Kammerling in Hanover. For many years he lived in France, where he pursued his studies in La Sorbonne in Paris before founding the International Franz Liszt Festival, which he led as its artistic director from 1997 to 2003. His recording career began with the publication of Johannes Brahms’ First and Third Sonatas. He was soon recognized as a major Brahms interpreter, and the most original and significant to come along since Julius Katchen (Repertoire, Fanfare, Clavier Magazine, American Record Guide, Revue Musicale de la Suisse Romande, BBC Magazine).

Likewise, his release of the complete Scriabin Mazurkas, also for Music & Arts, has astonished critics. Fanfare Magazine, citing “artistry of the highest order”, described Mr. Le Van as ” uncannily sensitive to Scriabin’s nuances of phrase and harmonic subtleties,” and selected the recording for the Want List 2004 of indispensable new recordings. In both the St Petersburg Times and Clavier Magazine, critic and Scriabin authority John Bell Young called him “a Scriabinist to the manner born,” adding that “more vivid, imaginative music making than this would be hard to find, no matter what the repertoire.”

In the last decade, Eric Le Van has performed as both soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe. His recitals and concerto engagements have taken him to Paris, Berlin, Munich, London, Bern, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Both the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress presented him in recital in Washington, D.C. He has participated in major music festivals, including the the Boulder Bach Festival and the Music Mountain Festival; the Holland Festival; the International Piano Stars Festival in Latvia; the Östergötland Chamber Music Festival in Sweden; the Nohant Romantic Festival and Festival Piano à Riom in France; the Bayreuth Festival, the Saarländisches Spielefestival in Mettlach, Klassik-Bühne Rhein-Sieg festival in Cologne, the Franz Liszt Festival in Weimar and the International BeethovenFest in Bonn.

Long a familiar artist on radio and television, Eric Le Van has been featured on KUSC-Los Angeles’ “Classical Music with Jim Svejda”, KKHI-San Francisco, WCLV-Ohio, New Zealand Listener, Radio France, France Musique, DRS2-Bern, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and WDR3-Cologne. On television he has been a featured performer on France-3, Sudwest and 3 SAT Europe.

Mr. Le Van has been a frequent guest artist, masterclass/recital teacher and lecturer in Europe such as at the Centre d’Art Polyphonique d’Alsace and in the Académie Internationale d’Eté du Grand Nancy in France, as well as in universities and conservatories throughout the United States.

Mr. Le Van is also a keen archivist of unusual repertoire. In a recording for the Tudor label he re-introduces the neglected music of the once celebrated 19th century composer, Joachim Raff. Joined by violinist Michaela Paetsch, his readings of Raff’s Sonatillen and Six Morceaux de Salon on the Tudor label. His survey of Liszt’s chamber music, with cellist Guido Schiefen for Arte Nova (BMG), earned the Neue Musik Zeitung’s award for Best Chamber Music Disc of the Year in 2000.

A new solo CD with Music & Arts Records, entitled ” Exile “, features several world premieres of Jewish composers who fled Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in the 1930s, including Eric Zeisl’s haunting set of piano pieces ” November ” (1937-38), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s ” Fandango ” and Ernst Toch’s youthful Scherzo in B Minor and Profile op.68. The New York Times’ chief music critic Anthony Tommasini has praised the CD as “a fascinating new recording.”

Drawn to art in all its forms, Eric Le Van is an avid reader of literature, history, and philosophy, and an accomplished violinist as well. He lives in Southern California with his wife Myriam. His children Sarah, Solene and Sean, are all professional musicians, with whom he often performs throughout the US and Europe.