Francesco Tristano leads a multifaceted career as a pianist and composer, delving into classical and jazz works, as well as other popular and avant-garde styles of music. Yet, he is often associated with Baroque music, particularly compositions by J.S. Bach. Indeed, he has recorded all the Bach keyboard concertos and other Bach works. But he has performed much other Baroque fare by such composers as Buxtehude, Frescobaldi, and Orlando Gibbons, and he arranged Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, for piano and strings. But Tristano is equally at home in contemporary and avant-garde music, regularly performing works by Berio, Cage, and himself. Tristano's repertory also takes in works by Haydn, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. He has written both classical and jazz works and has collaborated in many of his compositions with pianist/composer Rami Khalife. He often performs with Khalife, too, as well as drummer Aymeric Westrich, who together form the trio Aufgang. Tristano has concertized across the globe at major concert venues and, besides DG, has recorded for PentaTone, Avi, and inFiné.
Francesco Tristano (Schlimé) was born in Luxembourg City on September 16, 1981. He began playing the piano from age five, and at 13 gave his first public performance, playing his own works.
Tristano studied at the Luxembourg and Paris conservatories and also at major music academies in Riga and Brussels. He relocated to New York City in 1998 to attend Juilliard, where he earned bachelor's (2002) and master's (2003) degrees. His teachers there included David Dubal, Jerome Lowenthal, and Jacob Lateiner. Also, he had master classes there with Bach specialist Rosalyn Tureck. Tristano would go on to further study at the Escola Superior de Musica in Catalonia, Spain, with Jordi Camell.
During his student years Tristano was also busy building his concert career. In 2000 made his U.S. debut with the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev. The following year he founded the New Bach Players, with whom he has regularly performed in the roles of soloist and conductor. 2004 was a watershed year for Tristano: CD Accord released his acclaimed two-disc set of the complete Bach keyboard concertos, with the New Bach Players, and Tristano won the prestigious International Contemporary Piano Competition in Orleans, France.
In 2005 he co-founded Aufgang with Khalife and Westrich, and the three gave their debut concert in Barcelona at the Sonar Festival in June. Tristano's recording of the Prokofiev Fifth Concerto, Ravel G major Concerto, and his own 3 Improvisations was issued in 2006 by PentaTone and named an Editor's Choice by Gramophone Magazine.
Tristano was now busy on all fronts with a concert schedule featuring performances with the New Bach Players and Aufgang, as well as the Russian National Orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, and many others. In 2009-2010 Tristano made six recordings with Aufgang on the inFiné label, among them the Baroque-inspired, electronics-laden Barock. Tristano's 2012 schedule included performances of Messiaen's massive Des canyons aux étoiles in New York City and Ann Arbor, with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate.