Alexandre Tharaud was born in Paris in 1968, and 'discovered the music scene through his father, a director and singer of operettas, which were put on in theaters of Northern France. At the initiative of his parents, Alexandre started his piano studies at age 5, and he entered Conservatory of the 14th Arrondissement where he met Carmen Taccon-Devenat--a student of Marguerite Long--who became his teacher. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at age 14 where he won first prize for piano Germaine Mounier when he was 17 years old. With Theodor Paraskivesco, he mastered the piano, and he sought and received the advice of Claude Helffer, Leon Fleisher an Nikita Magaloff. In 1987, he won the International Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona and, a year later, the Senigallia Competition in Italy. In 1989, he received 2nd prize at the Munich International Competition. His career developed quickly in Europe as well as in North America and Japan.' Of interest, he supposedly refuses to keep his piano in his house because of his belief that he will begin to prefer the pleasure of improvisation to the necessity of rigorous work. He also composes but usually keeps this activity in the background. Tharaud is now firmly established as a pianist of outstanding international stature. He has acquired a distinctive reputation for his skillfully and personally conceived programming, whether for the concert hall or the recording studio, with his projects around Rameau, Couperin, Bach and Chopin receiving acclaim from critics and audiences around the world.
Having created many recordings he has turned this CD into a recital of the works of Domenico Scarlatti (composer 1685-1757) and electing to play these works on the piano rather than the harpsichord and performs 18 of these brief but wondrous pieces with an elegance and precision that keeps the listener hyperacute to the sorcery contained in the composition of these works. Though it would be an anachronism to say he plays these works with a Romantic passion, still in other performers hands these sonatas can sound cold or detached. Tharaud brings the humanistic element to the fore and the result is a kaleidoscope of colors, each sonata becoming unique instead of a continuous string of cerebral excursions. This young pianist's reputation is solid and likely soon his name will be well known in this country as well as in Europe. Grady Harp, October 11