Anne Queffélec

Anne Queffélec is among the most popular French pianists of her time. She is especially noted for her elegant readings of music by Satie, Mozart, and contemporary French music.

Queffélec was born in Paris on January 17, 1948. Her father was the writer Henri Queffélec, and her two brothers are, respectively, a mathematician and musician. Queffélec loved literature as a child but settled on music as a career and enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. She graduated after earning first prizes in both piano and chamber music and then traveled to Vienna for further studies with the cream of that city’s piano scene: Alfred Brendel, Jörg Demus, and Paul Badura-Skoda. The mix of French and Germanic influences in Queffélec’s training has been evident in her career. She has often played the works of Haydn, Schubert, and Mozart (and was heard on the soundtrack of the hit Mozart biographical film Amadeus), but also Satie and Henri Dutilleux. She won first place in the 1968 Munich International Competition and fifth place in the 1969 Leeds International Competition in Britain, both prestigious events where top showings helped launch her international career. In 1988, she made her recording debut on the Virgin Classics label with a recital of works by Satie.

Queffélec has performed with many major orchestras both inside and outside France, including both the London Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras; she is especially well-loved in Britain and has appeared multiple times at the BBC Proms. In France, she has appeared at the Festival of La Roque-d’Anthéron and the Folle Journée de Nantes; she is a favorite guest at British festivals as well. In addition to solo work, she has performed chamber music with pianist Catherine Collard, violinist Pierre Amoyal, and cellist Frédéric Lodéon, among others. In 2011, she received the title of Commandeur de l’ordre national du Mérite from the French government. Queffélec has been a prolific and critically acclaimed recording artist. In 1996, she issued a recording of the complete piano music of Dutilleux. She has recorded for the Virgin, Erato, and Mirare labels, especially often for the latter in the 2010s. In 2019, on that label, she released a recording of Mozart’s K. 331, K. 332, and K. 333 piano sonatas. Queffélec returned in 2022 with a recording on Mirare of Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas, and in 2023, she was heard on the Quatuor Modigliani album Ode à la nuit and on Cello 8’s Chut! La nuit me protège.

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© Caroline Doutre