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Artiste Index Option •  Pianiste Utopia
Samson François


« We do not play the piano with two hands, we play with ten fingers. Every finger has to be a voice which sings. » Samson François

« We live as we want, we die as we can. » Samson François lived his life and his art as a perpetual adventure. Its life, he burned with excessively and passion, frequenting dedicatedly the night world, the jazz, the swing, the cigarettes and the alcohol. « The morning, the sounds are ugly », it liked to say. Inspired, fanciful, unpredictable and romantic artist as one pleases. He showed itself very often impressive for the genius of his interpretations, but also sometimes, he has neglected his performance of pianist. But himself claimed his irregularity: « What is needed, it is that we never have the impression to be obliged to play the note which follows. »

Samson François played only the musics which he liked and particularly became famous in the works of Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy et Ravel. His touched so personal, of an infinite variety of colors, allies power and delicacy, prodigious technique and an aggravated sensibility.

« We execute a work for the first time, or for the last one. They are two only forms of interpretation. » Samson François

The Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1 en C minor played by Samson François is certainly the most beautiful interpretation. He makes a masterly homage to Chopin.


Eric Douzet


Nocturne No. 13 in C Minor MixPod.com
Samson François
Biography succinct


Samson Pascal François was born in Frankfurt am Main on May 18th, 1924 of a father consul. It is her mother Rose who chose her first name « for the strength » and which added Pascal « for the spirit ». Samson François brilliant poet of the piano, discovered the piano from the age of two years and begins his musical studies in Italy. Mascagni remark this child prodigy with whom he gives, from the age of six years, a first concert.

His father occupied an employment at the French consulate. His family moving a lot, it is in Belgrade where he obtained a first prize of piano, in the class of Cyril Licar, with which he discovered the works of Bartok.

In 1931, Samson enters the Conservatory of Belgrade and plays in front of king Alexandre. After studies to the Conservatory of Nice, of which he goes out with a 1st prize in 1934, he is noticed by Alfred Cortot who makes him enter in the Normal School of Music in Paris. However, Alfred Cortot has not taught at Samson François himself, but his studies were attributed to Yvonne Lefebure, who was linked to the great musicians of his time.

In 1938, he entered the Conservatory of Paris in the class of Marguerite Long, she already had to tame its voluntary nature and she reminded Samson François some years later than he was the only pupil, than she had had to slap. « Madam, it is a privilege to be the only one!  », he answered. « She learnt me to play clean. » will say Samson François.

He obtains a 1st prize to the Conservatory in 1940 and gives its 1st Parisian concert in 1941.

In 1943, then 19-year-old, Samson François wins the 1st prize of the Competition Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud. A success marking the beginning of an extraordinary career:

1947 at the Beginning of his international career in the United States, in the Middle East and in Europe.

1951 Creation, to Aix-en-Provence, of his own Concerto for piano.

1953-1954 Great Prize of the Disk Academy of the French Disk.

1956 Creation of the Piano Concerto by Pierre Petit, at the Besançon Festival.

Triumphant tour in Soviet Union, as first French artist invited for the official resumption of the French-Russian cultural exchanges.

1959 Concert in Paris, with Paul Kletzki, for the 25th anniversary of the R.T.F.

1960 Distribution of the broadcast Great Performers of Bernard Gavoty.

1964 Tour in China, as the first Western pianist invited since the resumption of French-Chinese relations.

1967 Tour in Japan, Claude Santelli dedicates him a film, Portrait of a pianist.

On 1968 Victim of an infarct, he cancels temporarily its commitments. Very fast, he resumed its pianist's trips concert performer, in Mexico and in Europe, without leaving: « Anyway, I do not want to age. I do not want to save... »

1969 Tours in the USSR and the participation to numerous festivals in France.

In 1970 in Paris on October 22nd, he dies from a heart attack, between two sessions of recording of the complete of the work of Debussy.


Biography realized by the documentation service of Radio France.
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