click photo to enlarge Cécile Ousset pianist

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Cécile Ousset was born in Tarbes, France, and gave her first recital at the age of five. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Marcel Ciampi, where, aged only fourteen, she won the First Prize in Piano Graduation. Cécile Ousset was a major prizewinner at many of the world’s foremost competitions including the Van Cliburn, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Busoni and Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud competitions. Since then, she has had an active international concert career that has seen her performing on all five continents.

Cécile Ousset is a frequent and popular guest in many parts of the world. She has appeared with all the major British orchestras and festivals including a number of appearances at the BBC Proms, London. TV appearances in Britain have included a profile filmed in London and France for the arts programme Omnibus and the complete Debussy Preludes recorded at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. She regularly gives recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Newsletter/Spring 2001:
A tribute to Cecile Ousset

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
A busy year for Cécile Ousset includes returns to the New York Philharmonic...

Newsletter/Autumn 1998:
The ever-popular Cécile Ousset returns to the UK this Autumn

She has visited Hong Kong, Australia/New Zealand and Japan several times (including NHK Symphony Orchestra). February 1996 saw her first tour for many years to South Africa, where she has since returned. Miss Ousset made her US debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Minnesota Orchestras in 1984 and has since returned there annually for engagements including concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony (Washington), and February 2000 saw her third return during Masur’s tenure to the New York Philharmonic.

Throughout Europe she regularly appears with leading orchestras and at major festivals. In the last couple of years these have included the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bonn Beethovenhalle Orchestra, RSO Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Swedish Chamber, Goteborg Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Bordeaux, Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Northern Sinfonia and the Bournemouth Symphony.

Cécile Ousset’s recording of the Brahms Piano Concerto No 2 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus conducted by Kurt Masur won the coveted Grand Prix du Disque and her relationship with EMI over a number of years also produced prize-winning recordings; particularly successful have been her performances of the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No 2, Liszt No 1 and Rachmaninov No 2 with the Paganini Rhapsody. Her recording of Grieg and Mendelssohn 1st Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra/Neville Marriner received worldwide critical acclaim as did her recital recordings of Liszt, Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. More recently she released Rachmaninov Concerto No 3 with the Philharmonia Orchestra/Guenter Herbig, both concertos by Ravel with the CBSO/Rattle and the Tchaikovsky Concerto No 1 and Schumann Concerto with the London Philharmonic/Kurt Masur. She recorded Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto in F with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra under Neville Marriner for Capriccio. BBC Music Worldwide have released a CD of a Chopin/Ravel recital recorded live at the Wigmore Hall in March 1999.

Cécile Ousset is based in Paris during the season but spends the summer months in the beautiful medieval village of Puycelsi near Albi where she conducts a series of masterclasses with international students.

August 2000

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selected concerto repertoire
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BEETHOVEN Concertos nos 1, 2, 3 & 4
CHOPIN Concerto No 1 in E , op 11
Concerto No 2 in F, op 21
FRANCK Symphonic Variations
FAURÉ Ballade
MENDELSSOHN Concerto no. 1 in G minor
MOZART Concertos K453, K467, K488, K537
POULENC Concerto
RAVEL Concerto in G major
SAINT-SAENS Concerto No 2 in G, op 22
SCHUMANN Concerto in A minor, op 54
STRAUSS Burlesque
WEBER Konzertstück

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view complete discography here (3 pages in Microsoft Word)
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After hearing Cécile Ousset perform Saint-Saens Concerto no.2 ..I will never be satisfied with anyone else’s interpretation…Ms Ousset displayed a light touch, a gracefulness and a fluidity that made the glittering showpiece shine in a new light.
Cincinatti Symphony/Carlos Kalmar, Saint-Saens Concerto no.2

Cecile Ousset sought out the heart of the work and of its composer with resounding success… Even in the first movement cadenza, Ousset managed to tease out previously undiscovered details. Her refined cascades of notes, cantabile phrasing, and unselfconscious immersion in Schumann’s dreamworld – all these are talents which allowed her to reveal the very best qualities of the music.. Enthusiastic applause for an enchanting balancing act between discipline and emotion…
Leipzig Gewandhaus/Belohlavek, Schumann Concerto

Ousset’s way with the work’s final minutes (Saint-Saens no.2) has long been one of the most exciting fixtures on the circuit, and it was good to hear her mix of robustness and vivacity so energetically partnered.
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Tortelier on BBC Radio 3, Saint-Saens Concerto no.2
The Independent

The French pianist Cécile Ousset gave a brilliant interpretation of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto no.2, full of impulsive passion right through to the overwhelming finale. Whether in the purely virtuosic passages, which she played with sovereign command, or the more musical passages, she approached the work with good taste and praise-worthy sincerity.
Orquesta Filharmonica de Gran Canaria/Adrian Leaper, Saint-Saens Concerto no.2

The opening phrase was exquisitely articulated but it was with the entry into the slow movement’s world of poetic sweet dreams and Ousset’s brilliant bravura and dashing wit in the finale…which made this memorable.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox, Beethoven Concerto no.1

Commanding a firm, extrovert touch for the thrusting confident first movement she fell into a timeless, lyrical reverie for the adagio before launching into a breathlessly ebullient finale.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Matthias Bamert, Beethoven Concerto no.2

Cécile Ousset gave a finely-honed performance, providing the orchestra with plenty to engage with. She maintained the pulse excellently at all times and her organic approach to the piece produced a perfect interpretation of this work.
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Arnold Ostman, Mozart Concerto no.26

Ousset was magnificent…her presence and control throughout held the audience rapt.
Hallé Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Tchaikovsky Concerto no.1

Her magnificent playing, full of brilliance, and characterised by chiselled articulation, delighted the audience with its elegance, charm and flair for romantic sensibility; her tangible sense of joy in Mendelssohn’s genial, instinctive music corresponded perfectly with her completely natural, straightforward and relaxed approach.
Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland Pfalz/Bernhard Klee, Mendelssohn Concerto no.1

Radio 3’s live Chopin and Ravel recital by Cécile Ousset reminds us of her robust clarity and musicianship. Her encores have a racy, virtuoso aplomb.
Wigmore Hall/BBC Radio 3 live recital on CD (Gramophone Magazine review)

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