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Van Cliburn Piano Competition

Cliburn confidential: Francois Dumont

Posted Friday, Apr. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

May 24-June 9

Bass Hall

www.cliburn.org

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Cliburn confidential

7 of 30

A series of conversations with the Cliburn competitors

Francois Dumont

(Pronounced Frahn-SWAH Dû-MONT)

Nationality: French

Born: Lyon, France

Lives: Brussels, Belgium

Age: 27

Early musical memories: "My parents always loved music and there was an upright piano at home," Dumont says. "I clearly remember a Beethoven Ninth Symphony conducted by Yehudi Menuhin as being one of my earliest influences. I must have been 6 or 7 years old."

Favorite composer to play: "It is very hard to pick just one composer; however, I think if I had to choose I would say Beethoven," he says. "His legacy for the piano literature is immense, and he developed every aspect of the instrument, somehow making a revolution in piano playing. He gave a whole new dimension to the instrument."

Favorite contemporary pianists: Radu Lupu (the 1966 Cliburn competition winner) and Nelson Freire

When he is not practicing piano, he enjoys: "I love opera," he says. His favorite book is Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal and favorite movie is Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. If he could meet any movie stars, he says he'd like to meet John Malkovich or Marilyn Monroe.

Currently in his CD player or iPod: Brahms' Symphony No. 4, conducted by Carlos Kleiber.

What he loves most about his home country of France: "The overall lifestyle," he says. That must include those fabulous French cheeses, as he says cheese is his favorite food.

The first really Texan thing he plans on doing upon arriving in Fort Worth: "Plan on having a nice hamburger with chili sauce."

If he could travel back in time, the composer he'd like to meet is ... "I would like to meet Chopin and ask him for some lessons," he says.

Great pianists he tries to emulate: "I adore Artur Schnabel, Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau and Alfred Cortot," he says.

Why he's entering the Cliburn: "The competition offers everything that every young pianist wishes: an extremely prestigious title (for the winner and even for all finalists), many concerts, a recording and management contract ... This is, of course, a tremendous opportunity of development in a young musician's career," Dumont says in his application.

Interests and talents besides piano: "Politics and being in nature. Also good wine, chess and pingpong -- though not really all that talented in the last one."

-- Andrew Marton, Special to the Star-Telegram

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