Emile Naoumoff


Born: February 20, 1962
Emile Naoumoff has been likened to both Vladimir Horowitz and Artur Rubinstein as a pianist, and was also recognized as a serious composer before his 20th birthday. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1962, Naoumoff revealed himself a musical prodigy at age five, taking up study of the piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. He became a student of renowned music educator Nadia Boulanger in 1970 and at age 10 played the premiere of his own piano concerto under the baton of Yehudi Menuhin. He took up the study of conducting with Pierre Dervaux in the late '70s and joined the faculty of l'Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. His subsequent positions included professorships at the American Conservatory in Paris and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique. In 1981, at age 19, he was signed as a composer -- the youngest on their roster -- with the music publisher Schott de Mayence. Naoumoff's reputation as a piano virtuoso dates from 1984 when he substituted without notice for a stricken pianist in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Monte Carlo. That concert earned him the comparisons to Horowitz and Rubinstein, displaying -- as one critic remarked -- the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. In the years since, he went on to appear as a soloist with the most renowned orchestras in Europe, America, and Japan, and such legendary conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Igor Markevitch, and Mstislav Rostropovich. He also earned a personal invitation from Rudolf Serkin to perform at the Marlboro Festival, and has given recitals throughout Europe in the decades since. As a composer, he has had more luck than most in getting his music recorded, principally by the Wergo label, which has put out two CDs of his work (as well as a recording of Naoumoff's interpretations of Debussy piano pieces). His compositions range from solo sonatas and preludes to full-blown concertos, the latter including Pictures at an Exhibition. Naoumoff has also recorded for Sony Classical, EMI, and Orfeo, and his most important recordings include compositions by Glenn Gould, Gabriel Fauré, and Lili Boulanger. During the 1990s, in addition to teaching at the Paris Conservatory, Naoumoff became an associate professor at the University of Indiana's School of Music in Bloomington. He has given master classes on three continents and also has his own music academy based outside of Paris.