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As a teenager, Lucas Debargue switched his focus from music to literature, only rededicating himself to the piano in 2010. Five years later, he was already winning prizes on the world’s biggest stages, including a fourth place finish—and the prestigious Critics’ Prize—at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, due in part to his remarkable reading of Ravel’s fiendishly difficult Gaspard de la nuit. He performs it again in this 2016 recital at Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, demonstrating the incredible control of melodic lines, deftness of touch, and technical facility that Ravel’s beloved piano suite demands.
Surrounding the Ravel are sparkling Baroque sonatas by Scarlatti and another monument of the Romantic piano repertoire, Liszt’s diabolical Sonata in B Minor, full of grand pathos and pianistic pyrotechnics. For his encores, he moves from a poignant Fauré Barcarolle to a delightful improvisation on Nat King Cole’s “Just You, Just Me,” bringing the marvelously varied program to a spirited and jazzy conclusion and showing why he is one of the most exciting young pianists working today.