French pianist Bernard d’Ascoli opens 81st season of the Horsham Music Circle

Enthusiasts of the piano repertoire are in for a treat when the renowned French pianist Bernard d’Ascoli gives the opening concert of the 81st season of the Horsham Music Circle on Saturday, September 24 in St Mary’s Church at 7.30pm.

Music circle spokeswoman Jill Elsworthy said: “A great musician, he has been acclaimed as one of the most formidable pianists of his generation and a phenomenally warm , poetic and dazzling soloist.

“Bernard, born in the South of France and blind since the age of three, began learning piano and organ at the age of eleven. In 1974 he was one of the youngest French Baccalaureat graduates of the year and four years later, at the age of 19, he won the first prize in the Barcelona International Piano Competition.”

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Bernard first came to public attention in 1981 when, following his third prize in the Leeds International Piano Competition, he made his London debut both in recital and with orchestra and recorded the Liszt sonata for EMI.

“He subsequently made his first visit to Horsham Music Circle and returns this season for the sixth time having thrilled audiences here previously.”

Following the Leeds success he was soon performing in many of the world's most prestigious venues including Paris, Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Vienna (Musikverein), Geneva and the Sydney Opera House.

“He has performed with most British orchestras and overseas ensembles and participated in international festivals. In 2000 he was a special guest of the Sydney Olympic festivities, appearing at the Opera House both as recitalist and soloist.

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“More recently he has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and at concerts in Oxford, Cheltenham and Chichester. Last year Bernard d'Ascoli was given a three-day tribute to his achievements as an international artist in the Marseille-Provence, cultural capital of Europe’ festivities.”

For his Horsham concert, for the 200th anniversary of Cesar Franck’s birth, Bernard presents the composers who inspired Franck. Bach-Busoni: Choral Nun komm der heiden heiland, Beethoven: Sonata N° 31 in A flat major Op 110, Chopin: Polonaise in f# minor Op 44 and Liszt: Ballade N° 2 in B minor will pave the way to his Prélude Chorale and Fugue.

“Don’t miss hearing this exceptional pianist! A concert grand piano will be supplied by Steinways for the occasion.”

For tickets, contact Horsham Music Circle on 01403 252602, email [email protected] or online at

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“For more details about this concert and others in the autumn series, including the special offer on tickets for all three concerts, see our website at and Facebook page.”