A Lecture-Concert with Johan Farjot and Claire Pelofi
Conducted live at La Maison Française
Open to the public* Advance Registration Required
*We are so excited to welcome the general public back to most events at La Maison Francaise of NYU. Please bear in mind that you must be provide proof that you are vaccinated and BOOSTED (3/3 shots of a WHO-approved vaccine) in order to attend this event.
The story goes that Gershwin’s inspiration for his majestic orchestral piece, An American in Paris originates from wandering the streets of the French capital where he arrived in 1926 to meet and work with Maurice Ravel. But the story does not end here. Upon his return to New York, Gershwin arranged a tour for Ravel who eventually crossed the Atlantic in the other direction in 1928. This was the beginning of a fruitful and steady relationship between French and American composers. Johan Farjot, pianist and composer, is himself the product of this mutual influence. In this lecture, Johan will present new ideas on how french impressionism embedded by composers such as Ravel, Boulanger, and Debussy have nurtured American compositions, including minimalists such as John Cage, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass and jazzman such as Moondog, by rethinking the musical space of motives and themes. In a second part, he will give a recital of French pieces directly influenced by American music.
Accompanied by Claire Pelofi playing the violin, Farjot will interpret pieces of Massenet and Boulanger as well as his own original compositions then conclude the recital with improvisations on the audience’s suggested themes.
Multifaceted musician, Johan Farjot, is a pianist, composer, conductor and orchestrator who never ceases to defeat stylistic categories. Farjot composes in many genres and forms, always exploring new sound horizons. His works are performed by leading musicians, as showcased by one of his recent critically acclaimed music records: Fuga Libera, Contemporary Clarinet Concertos, released in August 2019 by Outhere and already awarded by many prestigious titles like Diapason d’Or, Diapason of the Year, and the Choice of France Music. A monographic record Childhood (Klarthe), released in September 2020, contains chamber music performed by artists from the Ensemble Contraste, which Johan founded in 2000.As a composer, Johan Farjot also tackles more popular music styles, including music for children's books (Georgia, Tous mes rêves chantent, Gallimard, 2017) but he also likes to revisit classics of the repertoire, such as his work of Schubert lieder, Schubert in Love, in collaboration with Rosemary Standley. As an orchestrator, Johan Farjot never stops offering new insights into music genres and styles he is passionate about, whether it be musicals (Song, released in 2011 by Naïve), Johann Sebastian Bach (Transcriptions, Dolce Volta, 2013), or tango (Café 1930, Zig-Zag Territoires, 2009 and Besame Mucho, Aparté, 2017, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège). Revisiting Jazz classics, Farjot orchestrated a very unique ensemble (two pianos and a viola) for the record Miroir(s) released in 2013 by Naïve. Contributing as a pianist to the Ensemble Contraste, which he now co-directs, Johan has built a solid discography and performs with prestigious musicians in numerous festivals and concert seasons in France and abroad. He has always been close to the world of Jazz and has collaborated with many jazz performers. Since March 2016, Farjot is the artistic director of an on-going series of concerts Les 1001 Nuits du Jazz that take place in Bal Blomet, a historic jazz club in Paris.
Johan Farjot was born in Saint-Étienne, where he began studying music at the local conservatory. Enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire, he was taught by, among others, Michaël Levinas, Thierry Escaich, Zsolt Nagy and obtained five Premiers prix (Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue, Music theory and analysis, Conducting). Coming third in the Agrégation de Musique, a highly competitive examination for teachers, he also studied chamber music at the Conservatoire national de musique et de danse in Lyon.