B i o g r a p h y
Stéphan Sylvestre ranks among the most sought-after and brilliant Canadian pianists of his generation and enjoys an active performing career as a recitalist, orchestra soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and pedagogue. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have bestowed lavish praise on his performances; “…it is indisputable that his performance belongs to the category of 'spectacular piano playing'... his natural talent reminds one of the great Artur Rubinstein...” (La Presse, Canada); “…Sylvestre’s Chopin manages to move us through a simplicity only found in the greatest pianists.” (La Scena Musicale, Canada); “…masterly brilliant virtuosity and monumentality,” (Flovo Cultury, Czech Republic).
Stéphan Sylvestre’s performances have taken place in concert halls throughout Canada, the United States, Brazil, the Middle East, France, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, Czech Republic, Russia, Holland, and Indonesia. Notable venues include the Concertgebouw (Holland), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (UK), the St. Petersburg Conservatory (Russia), Place des Arts, the National Arts Centre, Massey Hall, and the Four Seasons Centre (Canada). He has played with several Canadian orchestras, and regularly appears in international festivals including Lanaudière, Orford, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and the Festival of the Sound in Canada. He can be heard on radio stations throughout North America, on Radio Suisse Romande, and he has performed live for the BBC in Edinburgh.
Mr. Sylvestre continues to gain recognition as a leading interpreter of Brahms and the French repertoire. His extensive discography, released under ATMA, CBC, Marquis Classics, and Espace 21 Records labels, has received outstanding reviews and two nominations for “Best recording of the Year” at the Opus Awards in Quebec. Placed alongside pianist Murray Perahia for his recording of Brahms complete late piano works (theWholeNote), the famed UK-based magazine The Strad gave a stunning review of his album of Szymanovski’s complete works for violin and piano with violinist Jerzy Kaplanek.
One of Canada's most praised chamber musician, Mr. Sylvestre has collaborated with world renowned artists and ensembles such as James Campbell, James Sommerville, Ransom Wilson, Martin Beaver, Rivka Golani, Alain Trudel, Andrew Dawes, Corey Cerovsek, Susan Hoeppner, Scott St. John, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Penderecki String Quartet, the New Zealand Quartet, the Alcan Quartet, Quatuor Arthur-Leblanc, the New Orford String Quartet, and first chairs of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2019, he formed a piano duo with pianist Angela Park, to present the complete Brahms Symphonies in their original piano four-hand versions.
Stéphan Sylvestre regularly adjudicates for leading higher education institutions, including the Glenn Gould School and the network of Conservatoire de Musique du Québec, and gives master classes around the world. He has sat on juries of national and international competitions including the Montreal International Piano Competition, the Montreal Symphony Competition, and the Canadian Music Competition. Highly in demand as a pedagogue of the new generation, his research on the art of performance focuses on the interconnection between the instrument, the awareness of the body and the mental state of the performer. His students are frequent prizewinners of music competitions and have been awarded prestigious research grants. Stéphan Sylvestre previously taught at McGill University and is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Western University, where he acted as chair of the Piano Department from 2008 to 2023. Mr. Sylvestre is also a faculty member at the Orford Music Academy, where he teaches in the summer. His teachers have included Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Marc Durand, and Marek Jablonski.
Schumann: Fantasie in C major, Op. 17: Live recording