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Cécile Ousset
, pianist


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.

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 2000/510 words

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