Though he is well known for his interpretations of French keyboard music, Alexandre Tharaud has also achieved critical acclaim for his J.S. Bach and Chopin. Moreover, he has championed much contemporary music, particularly works by Mauricio Kagel and Thierry Pécou. Tharaud has even managed to mix both Baroque with modern fare in his concerts, fashioning programs built around Rameau (billed as Hommage à Rameau) and Couperin (Hommage à Couperin), wherein the pianist interleaves works by the respective Baroque master with those of modern composers like Renaud Gagneux, Gerard Pesson, Francois-Bernard Mâche, and others. Tharaud is involved in other imaginative programming activity, like an all-Satie concert he has regularly given that employs a singer and narrator for certain numbers. Tharaud has often appeared with many of the leading orchestras in Europe and collaborated in chamber works with flutist Philippe Bernold, violinist Pierre Amoyal, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, and others. For a pianist who began recording only from about 1995, Tharaud has amassed quite a sizable discography, with 30 or more titles available from various labels, including Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Virgin Classics, and Naïve.
Alexandre Tharaud was born in Paris on December 9, 1968. His father was a singer and director of operas. At five Alexandre began piano lessons and at 14 enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. Among his teachers there were Germaine Mounier and Théodor Paraskivesco. Tharaud had later studies with Leon Fleisher, Nikita Magaloff, and Claude Helffer. In 1987 Tharaud won the Barcelona-based Maria Callas Competition and two years later finished second at the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich. He quickly drew notice on his concert tours throughout France and Europe. Naxos issued his first recording in 1995, a disc of piano works by Milhaud.
In 2000-2001 Tharaud recorded five volumes of the complete chamber works of Poulenc for the Naxos label. Tharaud received the Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles-Cros in 2003 for his two-disc set on Harmonia Mundi of the complete solo piano works of Ravel. In October 2006, Tharaud received lavish praise when he gave the world-premiere performance of Thierry Pécou's Piano Concerto (l'Oiseau Innumérable) at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. Tharaud's versatility in chamber music was underscored in 2008-2009 by his acclaimed performances on tour throughout the U.S., South Korea, and Japan with Queyras. Tharaud's later recordings include the 2010 Virgin Classics recording of Chopin works entitled Mon Journal Intime.