In June 1978, Abdel Rahman El Bacha won the Concours Reine Elizabeth de Belgique by a unanimous judgment at the age of nineteen. He was also awarded the Audience Prize.
Born in Beirut in 1958 into a family of musicians and being nephew of a painter, he started his piano lessons in 1967 with Zvart Sarkissian, a pupil of Marguerite Long and Jacques Février. At the age of 10, he gave his first concert with an orchestra. In 1973, Claudio Arrau predicted a great career for him, and in 1974 he was offered a scholarship by France, the former USSR and Great Britain. He took up the French offer out of cultural affinity and entered the Paris Conservatoire in the class of Pierre Sancan. He graduated with 4 first prizes (piano, chamber music, harmony and counterpoint).
After the Concours Reine Elizabeth which launched him on the international scene, he chose to bide his time in order to enlarge and further study his repertory. From that moment on, the musical press started comparing him to the greatest pianists, stressing the exceptional qualities of his playing and his emotional power.
From the Salzburg Mozarteum to the Paris Théâtre des Champs Elysées, from the Munich Herkulessaal to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, he performs today all over Europe, in Russia, Japan, the Middle East, the USA, Central and South America. His vast repertory, including around 60 concertos, is based mainly on the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Prokofiev. He has performed under eminent conductors with prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic with Kurt Masur, the Orchestre de Paris, the Royal Philharmonic, the NHK Tokyo, and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. In addition to his pianistic activities, Abdel Rahman El Bacha is also a composer.
His first recording for the label Forlane, early works by Prokofiev, was awarded the “Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros”. He received it personally from the hands of Mrs Prokofiev. For the same label he has recorded three concertos by Bach, Ravel’s two piano concertos and works by Schumann, Ravel and Schubert. His recording of Beethoven’s complete Piano Sonatas, just as his concert performances of these works, were heralded by the press as a “major event”. The second CD of these Beethoven recordings, as well as his Ravel recital, was awarded the “Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque Français”. For Chopin’s Melodies with Ewa Podlès, he also received the “Gerald Moore Prize” – best accompanist – from the Académie du Disque Lyrique. He has also recorded Chopin’s complete solo piano works. For Triton (Japan) he recorded all piano works by Ravel, Schubert‘s Impromptus, a CD with Russian virtuosos works and the Welltempered Piano by Johann Sebastian Bach. For Mirare he recorded works by Prokofiev, a 2nd complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, and very recently the Scherzi and Ballades by Chopin.
He was made “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Minister of Culture in 1998 and in has been awarded the “Médaille de l’Ordre du Mérite” by the President of the Republic of Lebanon, the highest distinction of his native country.
Engagements of the current and next season include a.o. the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Charlotte and Toledo Symphony Orchestras, the Sinfonia Varsovia, Brugge, Brussels, Lyon, Montréal, Tokyo and Warsaw as well as festivals such as La Folle Journée, Festival International de Piano La Roque d’Anthéron and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.