French pianist Lucas Debargue makes his East Coast debut

Lucas Debargue (photo by Evgeny Evtyukhov)

Scarlatti, Sonata in C, K. 132
Chopin, Ballade No. 4
Ravel, Gaspard de la Nuit
Medtner, Sonata in F minor, Op. 5

Lucas Debargue may be more myth than man. At last year’s Tchaikovsky International Competition, the young French pianist emerged from nowhere to claim fourth place, gaining a cult following while at the same time polarizing opinion. Some felt he offered the competition’s most magnetic performances; others refused to overlook perceived technical shortcomings. On Saturday at the UDC Theater of the Arts, Washington had the chance to hear what all the fuss was about, as Debargue, 26, made his East Coast debut under the auspices of Washington Performing Arts.

Debargue’s now well-rehearsed backstory — that he was mostly self-taught until he was 20 and played in jazz clubs at night while preparing for the competition — threatens to overshadow his artistry. What emerged from Saturday’s solo recital was a portrait of a remarkable but still developing pianist…

Read the full review here (Washington Post, November 13, 2016).