The World's Greatest Harpist to Embark on First Australian Headline Tour

The World's Greatest Harpist to Embark on First Australian Headline Tour

At the age of nine, Xavier de Maistre fortuitously fell in love with a local harp teacher. It would be a love that would lead to an important international career as a harpist and a life long relationship (that teacher is still an important part of Xavier's life, as godmother to his daughter).

Xavier, born in France and resident in Monte Carlo, belongs to an elite group of internationally celebrated musicians who redefine the bounds of what is possible on their chosen instrument. This tall, handsome and extremely talented musician left a prized job as Principal Harpist with the iconic Vienna Philharmonic almost 20 years ago to pursue a solo career and hasn't looked back.

Xavier's performances let the harp sing with a distinctive new voice, creating worlds of exquisite sensitivity. He is strikingly charismatic, plays with breathtaking precision and often presents complex pieces of music that were originally written to be played by an entire orchestra.

"The harp has always fascinated people because it is a very beautiful instrument," says Xavier. "Of course you can make heavenly diaphanous sounds which are so distinctive but very few people imagine the wide range of colours which are possible with the harp. It can be percussive or produce a rich full tone too!

"I actually think of my instrument as an orchestra, trying to reproduce all the gorgeous sounds which I experienced when I was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic."

Australian audiences will have the chance to experience Xavier first-hand when he tours Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra from 2 to 15 May.

"Xavier is one of the most sought-after classical artists on the planet!" says Paul Dyer, Artistic Director. "We are incredibly fortunate to have him for our 2018 season."

What's in store for audiences?

"To showcase this extraordinary artist, I've put together a romantic and sensuous program which is impressive and virtuosic, but also sublime and filled with lots of intense swoon moments," says Paul.

Xavier will play one of the greatest of all harp concertos, written by French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu (who some called 'The French Mozart'), plus a solo bracket with three famous works transcribed for harp that Xavier has been taking to the world's great concert halls.

"Composed by the Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega, Receurdos de la Alhambra is one of the most famous of all Spanish pieces and has been a part of the repertory of every major guitarist from Andrés Segovia to John Williams," says Xavier. "Even when played on the guitar, this is a very demanding piece, but on the harp the sustained tremolando represents a particular technical challenge."

He'll also play a Spanish Dance by the most widely performed Spanish composer Manuel De Falla and a harp transcription of Czech composer Bed?ich Smetana's symphonic masterpiece, Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast.

"The Moldau has been my showpiece since the beginning of my career," says Xavier.

"We are in for a treat with Xavier, but the Brandenburg has some showpieces on the bill as well," says Paul, "including symphonies by Mozart and C.P.E. Bach and our first performance of Ravel's famous, timeless and sublime Pavane pour une infante défunte."

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