Life and career
Born in Shanghai, to a family of intellectuals (his father was the translator Fu Lei), Fou first studied piano with Mario Paci, the Italian founder of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In 1953, Fou moved to Europe to continue his training at the Warsaw Conservatory, where he amazed his professors with his intuitive grasp of the mazurka rhythm. His mastery was confirmed when he won the special Mazurka Prize at the 1955 International Chopin Piano Competition.
Fou had been based in London since 1960, whence he embarked on a performing and teaching career that has taken him throughout the world and been distinguished above all by his authoritative interpretations of Chopin; indeed, Hermann Hesse proclaimed him to be the only true performer of the composer's work. Among Fou's closest friends are the fellow pianists Martha Argerich, Leon Fleisher, and Radu Lupu, who, acknowledging his influence upon their musical development, were "obliged to Fou Ts'ong for all his new ideas and for opening new musical horizons for all of us."
He was a member of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition's jury in 1991, 1999 and 2007.
From 1960 to 1969, he was married to Zamira Menuhin, the daughter of Yehudi Menuhin, and they had one son. Their marriage ended in divorce. He later married the Chinese pianist Patsy Toh. He lives in London.
- Program Notes from a recital at the New England Conservatory, October 7, 2000
- Program Notes from a recital at the Shanghai Concert Hall, April 8, 2006