« Every descent into the self is also an ascension, an assumption, a glance toward the true external reality. » This quote from Novalis perfectly expresses the quintessence of Vaysee-Knitter’s nature – his playing is characterised by an extreme intensity and sense of vital urgency that grips the listener, as the piano under his hands sings melodies of introspection and transcendence.
This duality partly explains the fascination that the music of Karol Szymanowski holds for him: For several years, Vaysse-Knitter has devoted himself to Szymanowski’s entire piano oeuvre, as well as to the works of his contemporaries, yet all the while, he has remained particularly attached to modern day music. His Szymanowski solo recording was highly regarded among classical music publications, receiving 4 stars from Fonoforum, 5 stars from Piano News and a « Maestro » rating from Pianiste. Similarly, his subsequent album Szymanowski-Stravinsky (released by Aparté), which he recorded with violinist Solenne Païdassi was awarded a « Choc » by Classica, their highest recommendation, as well as 5/5 by Diapason and 10/10 by Klassik Heute. The merits of Vaysse-Knitter’s discography, which includes recordings of Chopin, Liszt, Haydn and Dvořák, have long been recognised, not least by a « Prix Jeunesse » from Adami and a « Grand Prix » from the Académie Charles Cros.
He has also been invited to perform in such prestigious venues as the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Herkulesaal in Munich, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and auditoriums in Grenada, Murcia and Monterrey in Mexico. He has also played at numerous festivals, such as the Festival de Musique de Menton, the Festival Radio France in Montpellier, the Lille Piano(s) Festival and the first Adelaide French Festival as well as at locations as varied as Lazienki in Warsaw, Weimar and Osaka.
He has played under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Arie Van Beek, Stéphane Cardon, Diego Matheuz, Jean-François Verdier and Benjamin Lévy, and with orchestras such as the Colonne Orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the Orchestre d’Auvergne and the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris.
Apart from co-performing regularly with Alexandre Tharaud, Solenne Païdassi, cellists Xavier Philips and Sébastien van Kuijk, quartet Diotima and jazz pianist Guillaume de Chassy, Vaysse- Knitter also takes part in programmes that combine music and literature. As part of such ventures, he has collaborated with Catherine Jacob, Nicolas Vaude and François Morel, among others.
He was trained in the grand tradition of the piano institutes of France, Poland and Germany. He entered the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris at the age of thirteen, where he was awarded a « Premier Prix » diploma for piano and chamber music, having spent his time there honing his craft.
He then had a decisive encounter with pianist and conductor, Krystian Zimerman, who gave him advice and guidance in choosing his path. He went on to the University of Music in Freiburg, and obtained a diploma as a soloist. Finally, he perfected his skills with such musical authorities as György Sebők, Alexis Weissenberg, Alicia de Larrocha and Leon Fleisher at the prestigious International Piano Academy Lake Como. These encounters had a lasting effect on Vaysse-Knitter, each one marking him in a particular way. He was profoundly influenced by Sebők’s philosophical, spiritual approach to music, Weissenberg’s telluric power of interpretation, de Larrocha’s attention to vocal lines and Fleischer’s great thought leadership.
Awarded a « Révélation Classique » by Adami, and then laureate of the Festival Juventus, Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter came to the attention of Maria João Pirès, who invited him to play at the Lille Piano(s) Festival for the first time.
Since then, he has been a frequent figure on the sets and studios of France Télévision, the BBC, TVP Polonia, Radio Classique, France Musique and Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter is the founder and artistic director of two festivals : on one hand the Festival A Tempo (Lavaur, Tarn), and on the other Les Conversations musicales (Villefranche-sur-Mer, Alpes Maritimes), whose first edition will take place in July 2018.