David Fray is an award-winning pianist, recitalist, soloist and chamber musician. He has collaborated with leading orchestras under some of the most distinguished conductors, including Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach and Riccardo Muti, to name only a few, and has had orchestral appearances throughout Europe. He made his US debut in 2009 with the Cleveland Orchestra followed by performances with the Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also has given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory in New York and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.

With nine albums to his credit, his latest CD is a collaboration with violinist Renaud Capu├žon for a recording of four Bach sonatas for keyboard and violin.

Stay Thirsty Magazine was fortunate to visit with David Fray for these Five Questions during his current tour and just after his appearance with the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic in Florida.

STAY THIRSTY: You recently appeared with the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic during their national tour on four separate occasions in Florida. How did this engagement come about and what is it about this orchestra that attracted you?

DAVID FRAY: I met the orchestra and maestro Guerrero in June 2018 and was impressed by the emotion they brought to this music. The collaboration was fluent and almost like chamber music, which is what I prefer when I play with an orchestra.

STAY THIRSTY: You have been referred to as the “perfect example of a thinking musician.” What does that mean to you and it is true?

DAVID FRAY: Perfect, unfortunately not! But I personally expect more from a musician than only a “nice” moment, but also a singular experience that will lead me to another side of the piece. Music thinks actually and it’s logical that musicians think too. Playing notes is a huge responsibility.

David Fray performing Bach: Concerto for 3 Pianos

STAY THIRSTY: You have performed all over the world as a recitalist, a soloist and a chamber musician. Which format is your favorite, and which one is the most rewarding?

DAVID FRAY: I have to admit that I like to perform in recital very much, but when you get wonderful partners (conductors, orchestras or chamber music) this can be even more beautiful. When you feel that your partner answers to your phrasing very naturally for instance, this feeling of a communion is something miraculous to me.

STAY THIRSTY: You have recorded more Bach than Schubert, Mozart, Boulez or Chopin. What is it about Bach that keeps you coming back?

DAVID FRAY: It’s a necessity for me and I imagine that it is the case for any musician. The language of Bach is the perfect balance between poetry and rigor. As a musician, I try to be between these two poles, but it is difficult. Sometimes the emotion eats too much of the technical rigor and there is also the risk that too much rigor makes the music dry.

STAY THIRSTY: If you could ask Bach one question, what would it be? If Bach could ask you one question, what would you like it to be?

DAVID FRAY: I would ask: “What do you think about modern piano for your music?” Any question of the composer regarding my choices and questioning them would be interesting, though, I guess.

(Head photo credit: Marco Borggreve; Piano performance photo courtesy of Warner Classics)


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.