French pianist of American origin, David Lively leads an atypical career. From the United States where he began his studies in France where he resides, he won numerous international competitions, including the Long-Thibaud Concours in Paris (he meets Claudio Arrau, of which he became one of the few students), Queen Elisabeth in Belgium and Tchaikovsky from Moscow where he won the Special Prize for Contemporary Music.
Exceptionally talented, he has a great interest in American composers of the twentieth century such Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland with whom he studied the major works for piano he recorded thereafter. In addition, he managed to share his enthusiasm for two huge unknown concertos that he will also engrave: those of Busoni and Furtwängler – he was the first to record the latter in its complete and definitive version. In this same repertoire, let us quote his recording of the two concertos of Joseph Marx of which Castelli Romani, which is also a first.
David Lively devotes an important part of his activity to the music of our time. These include the European creation of Takemitsu’s Riverrun under the direction of Kent Nagano, the French premiere of 90+ for Carter’s solo piano, Saariaho’s trio Cendres and, more recently, Michael Travlos’s Double Concerto with the Orchester de la Radio Moscow, under the baton of Vladimir Fedosseyev or the work Continuous Snapshots dedicated to him by the composer Sébastien Gaxie (IRCAM ManiFeste Festival, June 2016). In 2014, he plays Benoît Mernier’s concerto, with the Orchester National de Montpellier-Languedoc Roussillon under the baton of Ernest Martinez-Izquierdo, recording this work with the same partners appearing in March 2016 under the label Cyprès.
David Lively has a special relationship with the Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans, who plays his chamber music and concerto many times over. In 2016, he was invited to the concert celebrating the 80th anniversary of the composer at the Royal Theater of La Monnaie and in June 2016, took part in the conference organized by the Foundation of Treilles on the occasion of this anniversary.
He is also a favorite interpreter of the Swiss composer William Blank, whose Cris chamber concerto he created and, more recently, Reflecting Black, this time with a large orchestra, commissioned by the Orchester de la Suisse romande, written for him and recorded under the baton of Pascal Rophé (published in September 2015 by the Aeon label).
David Lively is also very attached to the chamber repertoire, recorded for Cypres the complete chamber music of César Franck, with Tatiana Samouil on violin, the Malibran Quartet and the soloists of the La Monnaie Orchestra – box of four award-winning discs. He has performed in Russia and Azerbaijan with Alexander Guindin, Cyprien Katsaris and Yuri Favorin.
He is an ardent defender of the French repertoire. He gave a recital of rare works at the Moscow International House of Music in March 2015 with the support of the French Institute. Passionate about the work of Benjamin Godard, he promoted this composer with a concert at Piano aux Jacobins in September 2014 (he maintains an old complicity with this festival), then opened, in March 2016 in Venice, the season that the Foundation Bru Zane devoted to Godard.
David Lively has given many concerts with the Melos, Borodin, Psophos and Terpsycordes Quartets, the violinists Gil Shaham and Augustin Dumay, and the pianists Martha Argerich, Eugene Istomin among others.
David Lively plays in prestigious festivals such as Piano aux Jacobins, The crazy day of Nantes, Lille piano festival, Tons Voisins, Festival Aspects of contemporary music today and many others.
A complete mastery of the keyboard as well as an overflowing curiosity allow him to access the repertoires ranging from the Renaissance music to the most recent works and to face the monuments of the keyboard such as The Art of the Fugue of Johann Sebastian Bach in its entirety. Proof of this musical curiosity, his considerable discography will be reinforced very soon with the recording in historical reenactment of two Chopin concertos on an Erard 1836 piano alongside the Cambini Quartet (Aparté label).
A sought-after educator, David Lively recently took part in the International Piano Festival of the Shanghai Conservatory in November 2014, with a week of master classes and a concert including Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 with his former student Zhang Liang, current associate conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.
He was invited to embody the objectives of the European-American Cultural Foundation at its inauguration in the auditorium of the Library of Congress in Washington DC in October 2014.