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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Pianist 'goes out with a bang'
Grand piano
Duchable is reportedly going to destroy two pianos

French classical pianist Francois-René Duchable is to end his career in style by destroying two pianos and burning his recital suit in his final three concerts, it has been reported.

The musician is retiring from the classical music scene in August because he is disillusioned with its elitist approach, according to the Times newspaper.

Duchable is widely regarded as one of France's greatest pianists and won his country's soloist of the year title three years running in the 1990s.

The Paris-born pianist revealed his feelings in an interview with Catholic newspaper La Croix.

"I have had enough of sacrificing my life for 1% of the population. I have had enough of participating in a musical system, which in France at least, functions badly and limits classical music to an elite," he told the French publication.

Duchable will send his piano crashing into Lake Mercantour in the French Alps in the first of his farewell concerts at the end of July, reports the Times.

He will mark his second concert by burning his recital suit and plans to make his piano explode in mid-air during a dramatic finale performance in August, says the paper.

Used as this society uses it, the piano is an arrogant instrument which excludes all those that don't know about music
Francois-Rene Duchable
Duchable turned on the instrument that made his name in the interview, describing it as a symbol of bourgeois society.

"Used as this society uses it, the piano is an arrogant instrument which excludes all those that don't know about music," quotes the Times.

The paper says he now intends to bring his music to new audiences with more control over the music he plays and where he performs it.

"I could give concerts with a commentary and perhaps participate in off-beat festivals, for example, I could play on water," he told La Croix.

"I could play for children, the ill and for prisoners, but without ostentation," he added.

Duchable told the newspaper that he found the formal recital too restrictive.

"An organiser fixes my programme in advance. And if, at the last moment I want to play something else, because the mood takes me or because of artistic concerns, I can't," he said.

The maverick also took the opportunity to criticise several of his fellow pianists, according to the Times.

He is reported as calling Czech-born Alfred Brendel's latest record "discouragingly artificial" and accused Italian musician Maurizio Pollini of "wearing himself out from repeating the same things."

Duchable was born in Paris in 1952 and studied at the Paris Conservatory.

He gave his first concert in 1973 but his career really took off when he recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra in 1980.

He won the prize for the best recording of classical music in France in 1997 for his rendition of Liszt's Transcriptions and Paraphrases.

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