Portrait

Blandine Waldmann,
Exploring the inner song

Influenced by the ultra-cosmopolitan city of Brussels, where she learned her craft, Blandine Waldmann is instinctively attuned to dense, powerful repertoires where the piano takes on the guise of an orchestra. This French pianist draws deeply from a rich, complex, harmonic dimension, so she can truly express the inner song, which she does beautifully for Scriabin, whom she has just recorded along with Brahms and Mussorgsky, or Liszt, Beethoven Franck, Debussy or Ravel.

When she was younger, Blandine Waldmann played the violin and piano, but her heart soon fell for the latter: through it, she discovered a world that matched her desire to explore the crisscrossed paths of polyphony and incredible open spaces between the notes. Just like a tremendous symphony – the same forces still drive her today. The violin was to influence her lyrical approach to phrasing, that legato that she worked so hard on under Alexandre Mazdar at the Flemish Royal Conservatory in Brussels – a true platform for exchange with musicians of all nationalities.

AN OUTWARD LOOKING EDUCATION

“He was an important tutor for me, a sort of revealer,” the pianist confides, “As he drove me to research and mature the inner song, by this I mean anticipating a musical phrase, mentally projecting the sounds to come.”
Always on a quest to improve, she tends towards an exacting balance between what she feels and is at her very core, and the precise expression of the emotions written into the heart of the work, while still respecting the text.
This fundamental education outside of France, was completed under Dominique Cornil, as Blandine Waldmann consolidated her technique and structured her work at the Francophone Royal Conservatory in Brussels. At the same time, she perfected her orchestral artistry alongside Daniel Blumenthal and obtained a masters in chamber music.

 

The young pianist has also enriched her training, taking on different points of view at master classes, particularly in Italy, and through musicians she admires: Maria Callas or Menahem Pressler, “who know how to truly give themselves up to the audience, you can almost feel their souls.” Martha Argerich for the fluidity and drive she gives to the phrase, Wilhelm Kempff for the great depth of his interpretations, and Boris Berezovsky for the incredible energy he creates.

LISZT AND SCRIABIN: COMPOSERS THAT STRIKE A CHORD

A chord that resonates with success: Blandine Waldmann has achieved an incredible list of wins at international contests, most recently first prizes at IMKA (2018), the E-muse International Competition in Athens (2017), the Florestano Rossomando Contest (2016) and Erik Satie (2015) …

However, the works she performs truly demonstrate the path she has followed far more than the accolades she has gained.

« I think that certain works call to us, they make sense at a given time in our lives », reveals the pianist.

Although she is moved by Brahms, Liszt and his sonata, the French music she has lived and breathed since childhood, and Bach, whom she always comes back to, Scriabin, with his power and resonance, is where she is at today.

« He brings together so many qualities I’m looking for with the piano: extremely sophisticated harmony with refined colour, the superposition of melodies creating multiple sonorous planes, the diversity of emotional states which are sometimes in opposition; but what touches me more than all of that is the singularity of his imagination. »

A VIRTUOSO, INTIMATE ALBUM

 

After releasing a first contemporary music album, her second one is out this autumn with record label Dux. It brings together the ninth sonata by the Russian composer with three virtuoso, intimate works by Brahms – The Paganini variations II, the opus 117, Capriccio from the opus 116 – and Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky, in the composer’s original version with “occasional archaic and crude sounds.” Among her projects is also a desire to expand her repertoire of chamber music, notably as part of a quintet, and to record Liszt, and Scriabin once again.