Playing the piano, he plays with words in his three mother tongues (French, English and Italian) and works while reading and listening to the radio. The son of University professors, he was brought up during his American childhood with literature and philosophy. Consequently his love for Italy (his adopted country) was reciprocated when he obtained his first “Grands Prix” in international competitions from Bolzano to Naples.
Concentrating and scattering, François-Joël Thiollier likes to handle paradoxes, which brings him to love the intimist side of Debussy as much as the exhibitionism of the great pianist-composers thus combining French clarity with Russian madness.
Two thousand concerts have given him an ideal for recital programs that should be enriching : those with a program or a theme, rare works presented together with sometimes undiscovered masterpieces, his imagination creating a synthesis of both the analytical and the sensitive aspects.
Working alone and belonging to no trend – secret garden or secret jungle? François-Joël Thiollier shows an obvious pleasure in his extraverted performances, and it becomes contagious pleasure to the listener.