The enchanted worlds of
When Vaysse-Knitter sits down at the piano to play, he opens doors, creates universes and brings new atmospheres to life. With a select group of composers serving as guides – Szymanowski, Debussy, Chopin, Schumann, to name but a few – the pianist becomes one with his instrument, responding to the call of dreams and inviting the listener to travel with him to his many worlds of enchantment. This powerful musical experience, as sensual as it is spiritual, stretches to the point of transcendence.
At one with his instrument
Vaysse-Knitter is one of those pianists who dares to take the path less travelled, undeterred by any fears about losing his way. A champion of introspection, he revels in the physical union that exists with his instrument, a union that allows him to achieve a balance in his playing, at once instinctive and analytic. Vaysse-Knitter plays by feeling the music, but also by understanding and thus breaking free of its structure, rendering it imperceptible to the listener, until there is nothing left but raw emotion.
A renewed focus on the fundamentals
Awarded a « Premier Prix » diploma from the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris, Vaysse-Knitter honed his craft at the hands of numerous teachers. As an adolescent, he had a formative encounter with Krystian Zimerman, which led him to other musical masters at the University of Music in Freiburg. From there, he went on to learn from György Sebök, Alexis Weissenberg, Alicia de Larrocha and Leon Fleisher at the prestigious International Piano Academy Lake Como.
« All of these experiences nurtured me, » he explains, « and allowed me to find myself. As a path, it helped me to renew my focus on the essentials in life. «
For Vaysse-Knitter, this equates to a desire to be selective about what he plays. Although intimately familiar with a wide piano repertoire, especially from the Romantic era and Chopin in particular whose Polish roots strike a common chord with the pianist, Vaysse-Knitter concentrates on a few key figures; those who reach for a certain symbolism, figures such as Schumann and Liszt, but also Debussy and especially Szymanowski.
« I am attracted to the work of a composer, » he explains, « when it makes me break through into a world where I can dream, where I can experience their music as a physical sensation. When I work on a piece, it resides within me permanently, in my daily life, in my every action. This interaction between the physical world and the realm of dreams is extraordinary. «
This interaction is something Vaysse-Knitter experiences with the works of Szymanowski in particular, a man who inspires him in his search for the right sound and in sustaining his intensely intimate relationship with his instrument. The Polish composer’s spiritual quest, the interior fire that animates his music, the sensuality of his approach to the piano and the richness of his career have served as an example for Vaysse-Knitter, one that he never tires of making his own while at the piano.
« Szymanowski questioned himself constantly, he created his own language, continuously drawing from a variety of sources. His music is also suffused with dreams, mystery and a pervasive oniric quality. »
Experiencing music by instinct
Vaysse-Knitter also likes to team up with other chamber musicians, with whom he willingly shares the stage. Most notably, he plays in a duo with violinist Solenne Païdassi (their first joint album « Szymanowski/Stravinsky » was released in 2014, their second will be released towards the end of 2018). This duo has also transformed into a trio with the addition of cellist Sébastien van Kuijk.
« We experience music instinctively, we take a real pleasure in evolving together, without restriction, everyone playing an equal role. «
Later this year, Vaysse-Knitter will also be bringing out a solo album devoted to his favourite composers, Szymanowski and Debussy. This album will add to a discography that has already featured the works of Satie, Haydn, Brahms, Dvořák, Chopin, Liszt and Stravinsky. It will feature a recording never before released on CD of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, as transcribed by Alexandre Tharaud, with whom he regularly shares the stage.