Hervé Billaut is a tone painter . In his recent, widely acclaimed recording of Isaac Albeniz’ masterpiece Iberia he sketches with imagination and sensibility a spelling, sensual, “wild landscape of the secret Spain” (Epok). Audiences have followed him through this musical journey with enthusiasm in Paris or La Roque d’Anthéron as well as in South America and in China.
According to this musical explorer, being a musician means going beyond one’s brilliant technique in order to create a world of sensations, impressions and emotions. By applying this principle, Hervé has become rapidly a well regarded professor at the Conservatoire de Lyon and at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris where he has been teaching for ten years.
He, himself, went through a rigorous training as a talented child, he graduated at 16 from the Conservatory of Paris with the highest distinctions. Among his numerous awards (Viotti, 1981 ; Vercelli, 1982 ; Epinal, 1983 ; Pretoria, 1990 ; Tokyo, 1995) , he won the 3 rd Grand Prize at the prestigious Long – Thibaud Piano Competition in 1983.
Since then, he has performed all over the world, playing at the Theatre des Champs Elysées, the Salle Pleyel in Paris or the Teàtro Real in Madrid as well as in Latin America or in the Far East. These tours have enabled him to build an extraordinary large repertoire, from Bach to Copland, as well as gaining great stage experience, acquired by playing in front of the most versatile audiences. He gave the national premiere of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand and Mozart’s “Jeunehomme” Concerto in Ecuador.
His artistic friendships reveal an open personality: invited by the Orchestre National de France, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic or the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, he has played under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner and Yehudi Menuhin; an accomplished chamber musician, he shares complicity with pianists Frank Braley, Philippe Cassard, Cédric Tiberghien or violinists Stéphane Tran Ngoc and Naoko Ogihara; a regular guest in Radio France, he often participates in broadcast or gives live radio recitals; he still deepens his musical thinking by collaborating with such musicians as Marie-Françoise Bucquet and Jorge Chaminé or working at the Kempff Fondation in Positano; as the soloist of the Monte-Carlo Ballet, he has worked with choreographers Jean-Christophe Maillot, John Neumeier and Roland Petit.
« Music is an experience, which liberates from gravity » – Hervé Billaut made his own this sentence by Leon Fleisher, who reports with pride and humour: « A former student of mine also pilots airplanes. »
On stage, Hervé Billaut plays the way he is: going straight to the essential.