In the words of music critic Christopher Axworthy: ‘I think there can be no doubt that Franck Laurent Grandpre stole the show with his own amazing Salsa Classica. A truly virtuoso performance that brought the house down.’
The young French pianist’s trajectory reflects a free and unusual profile.
Whilst he has been selected for the most-renowned international competitions (The Queen Elizabeth of Belgium competition, The Leeds, Horowiz, etc.), he has also been involved in more eclectic projects, working alongside world break dance champions ‘Pockemon Crew’, in candlelit concerts, or indeed as a music composer for ballets commissioned by Lyon’s National Opera.
During 2020, he has given more than sixty piano recitals including classic programmes (Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin) but also recitals paraphrasing movie soundtracks, and others of his own compositions.
Trained at the Conservatories of Geneva, Lyon and then Paris – he obtained his Master’s with the unanimous congratulations of the jury – Franck was semi-finalist at the international Long Thibaud Crespin competition in 2015, Laureate and freedom of the city winner at the international Lagny-sur-Marne competition and got through to the final stages of the international Busoni competition in 2017.
The legendary Russian pianist Eliso Virsaladze was to say: ‘It’s rare to find such devotion and sincere love for the music. Franck Laurent-Grandpré has a unique vision and takes on every piece of music he plays.’
His composition for piano, ‘Sagrada Familia’ appeals to a wide audience, with classic and Latino influences. The first part was staged nearly thirty times between 2018 and 2019 and earned him the tag ‘revelation of the festival of lights’ from the newspaper Nouvelle République.
The English music critic Jack Buckley said on this subject: ‘No wit like French wit. His complete enjoyment of composing and playing his music communicated itself to every pair of ears in the hall. Even the deaf couldn’t miss it.’ Seen and Heard International
Franck was invited to the gala opening ceremony of the first International Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Piano competition in France in 2018 and performed the opening concert of ‘Amigdala International Music Competition 2019’ in Catania. He also appeared on the jury of international piano competitions at Lagny-sur-Marne and of the chamber music awards at Nancy conservatory.
He has also staged events in unexpected places, in the street for example, for the Bozen Festival in Bolzano, and his work as a soloist brought him to famous festivals such as Flagey’s Studio 4 in Brussels, Hammerklavier International Piano Series in Spain, Lyon Opera in France, Palermo Winter Festival in Italy, the Birmingham International Piano Festival in England, etc.
Amongst the numerous masters who influenced him are Jean-Claude Pennetier, Georges Pludermacher, Denis Pascal, Michel Béroff and Eliso Virsaladze. He has also received the occasional gems of advice from Maria-Joao Pires, Jorge Luis Prats and Sir Andràs Schiff.
His heart generally leans more towards the freestyle, improvisation and creative style of leading 20th century pianists such as Horowitz, Samson François or Alfred Cortot. His playing is certainly influenced by this aesthetic and the Russian pianist Natalia Troull (2nd Tchaikovsky prize) said ‘Franck Laurent-Grandpré plays with the majestic freedom of the improviser, and his communication with the audience is quite extraordinary.’
Open to different musical cultures, he accompanies traditional ‘Erhu’ Chinese instruments at Lyon Opera, plays historic instruments at the Royaumont Abbey as well as in Brazilian chamber music group Camerata Candela in Geneva. He has also been involved in concerts to introduce music to underprivileged districts (the Verramuse Association) and to restore the cultural heritage of Ste Foy les Lyon.
In 2019, he was appointed to the board of the International Contemporary Arts Association which promotes projects combining painting, fashion and music in China, and in particular in Dalian and Chongquing.
In April 2020, during lockdown, 250,000 people followed his online concert over social media.