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Fou Ts'ong

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Biography

Fou Ts'ong is generally regarded as the leading Chinese pianist of his time and one of the most highly respected interpreters of the music of Chopin. Following his prize-winning effort at the 1955 Chopin Competition, Fou went on to establish residence in London and build a successful career both on the concert stage and in the recording studio. Martha Argerich acknowledged him as an influence on her Chopin performances, and other pianistic icons, like Leon Fleisher and Radu Lupu, have spoken of his extraordinary skills. Fou has generally been conservative in his choice of repertory: besides Chopin, he has played much Mozart, including sonatas, other solo works and concertos, and J.S. Bach, Scarlatti, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Debussy. Fou is known for his lengthy concert tours, which often cover much of Europe, Asia, Japan, Australia, and the Americas. Fou has made numerous recordings, most available on Sony, Decca, and Meridian Records. Fou Ts'ong was born in Shanghai, China, on March 10, 1934. In his youth he studied piano in Shanghai with renowned Italian pianist and conductor Mario Paci. Fou made his debut there is 1951, playing the Beethoven Fifth Piano Concerto. In 1953 Fou won third prize at the Bucharest Piano Competition. That same year he began studies at the Warsaw Conservatory, where his most important teacher was Zbigniew Drzewicki. Fou captured third prize at the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1955. He was also awarded the Polish Radio Prize there for best performance of the Chopin mazurkas. Fou relocated to London in 1958. In the early '60s he recorded 18 Chopin mazurkas for the Westminster label and drew broad international acclaim. He would go on to make many further recordings, including a complete set of the mazurkas, in 1984 (now available on Sony). Fou continued with a heavy schedule of concerts right into the 1990s. He returned to China on a concert tour in 1989 and again in 1998. There he gave many highly praised performances in Beijing and Shanghai and also conducted master classes. In the new century Fou has remained active as a performer, with numerous tours, including concerts in Shanghai in spring 2006. He has also been active as a member of competition juries, serving on the Queen Elizabeth Competition jury three times, including 2007. His later recordings include an acclaimed 2009 Meridian Records CD of Chopin mazurkas.

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