Cécile Ousset

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Cécile Ousset (born 23 January 1936) is a French pianist.

Cécile Ousset was born in Tarbes, France, and gave her first recital at the age of five, subsequently studying at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10 with Marcel Ciampi (who had formerly taught Yaltah and Hephzibah Menuhin) where, aged only fourteen, she was awarded first prize in the piano graduation class of 1950. In 1953 she won the Claire Pages prize and went on to amass a formidable list of competition credits, including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Geneva at the age of 17; the Prix du Concours International de Geneve at 18; the Premier Grand Prix du Concours International Viotti at 19; the Premier Prix du Concours International Busoni at 23 and a Van Cliburn Prize when 26. She gained the fourth prize in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Belgium [1] in 1956 (other contestants included Vladimir Ashkenazy, who won first prize, John Browning, Lazar Berman, Tamás Vásáry and Peter Frankl), the Busoni and the Van Cliburn.

She has performed throughout the world and recorded a vast repertoire including concertos of Brahms, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Poulenc under the distinguished direction of Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle, Neville Marriner, etc. She won the coveted Grand Prix du Disque of the Académie Charles Cros for her recording of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with Kurt Masur.

Ousset has always had a great interest and love for teaching and coaching young talent. This has resulted in many Master Classes in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Far East. Participation in her annual Master class sessions, held since 1984 in the beautiful medieval village of Puycelsi in south-west France, are eagerly sought after. She is a frequent adjudicator for major competitions such as Van Cliburn, Rubinstein, Leeds and the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition.[1] She is particularly noted for her recordings of Ravel, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Debussy.

Ousset is Honorary Patron of the Yaltah Menuhin Memorial Fund.

In December 2006, she retired from public performance due to health problems related to her back.


  1. ^ a b "Cécille Ousset at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition". www.cmireb.be (Official website of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition). Retrieved 21 August 2011.