Les Amateurs Virtuoses !

Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! ("Virtuoso Amateurs") is unique in its kind, as it gives outstanding performance opportunities to pianists who have a double life.
Beyond their passion for piano, most performers in the festival also have other professions, in such diverse fields as engineering, architecture, medicine, teaching etc.

It is the first festival ever to have offered laureates of international piano amateur competitions such incredible opportunities to perform in venues where they would usually have no chance to be heard: to name a few, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Capella in Saint Petersburg, the Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires, the City Hall in Cape Town etc.

To this date, the festival remains the biggest event of this type in the world.

The Team

The festival is managed by the Pianestival association, composed of:

  • Dominique Xardel, President
  • Léa Relkin, General Secretary
  • Hélène Nguyen, Treasurer
  • Thierry Goldwaser, Webmaster
The artistic direction is performed by Julien Kurtz.

Short story of a great passion

Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! is the story of an encounter between two piano-lovers, Julien Kurtz and Dominique Xardel, who are competing in the 2007 Boston International Piano Competition for outstanding amateurs. A story of competitors who became partners, an intergeneration adventure that brings together know-how and dynamism: the Pianestival organization was born. It then developed and became in 2011 "Les Amateurs Virtuoses !" piano festival.

Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! is the story of an expectation from both musicians and the public, that finally was fulfilled. While new international piano competitions for amateur pianists keep blossoming all around the world year after year, there was no festival to allow those outstanding musicians to gather in just a friendly spirit and play in amazing venues. Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! festival is therefore offering the chance for those musicians to share their incredible talent on the Chatelet’s stage or in other venues in major cities throughout the world.

Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! is a stage open to all piano-lovers, whether they be professional or not., Les Amateurs Virtuoses ! in the etymological sense, refers to the ones who love: all invited musicians have the same spirit : musical sensibility, perseverance in the search of perfection, desire to share. It’s the reason why the festival is expanding its field to other instrumentists (violin, cello, clarinet, flute etc.), as long as they play with a piano that remains the core of the project.