Alexandre Tharaud (born 9 December 1968) is a French pianist. He is active on the concert stage and has released a large and diverse discography.
Born in Paris, Tharaud discovered the music scene through his mother who was a dance teacher at the Opéra de Paris, and his father, an amateur director and singer of operettas. Tharaud thus appeared as a child in theatres around northern France, where the family spent many weekends. His grandfather was a violinist in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. At the initiative of his parents, Alexandre started his piano studies at the age of five, and he entered Conservatory of the 14th Arrondissement, where his teacher was Carmen Taccon-Devenat, a student of Marguerite Long.
He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the age of 14 where he won first prize for piano in the class of Germaine Mounier when he was 17 years old. With Theodor Paraskivesco, he mastered the piano, and he sought and received advice from Claude Helffer, Leon Fleisher and Nikita Magaloff. In 1987, he won third prize at the International Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona and, a year later, the Senigallia Competition in Italy. In 1989, he was awarded 2nd prize at the Munich International Competition. His career developed quickly in Europe as well as in North America and Japan.
In 2009, he took part in a show devoted to Erik Satie with actor François Morel. Alongside the singer Juliette, he organised a Satie Day at the Cité de la musique, recorded for France Télévisions. He has also worked with the French composer Thierry Pécou, performing the première of his first piano concerto in October 2006 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and later recording it.
In 2012, Tharaud took part in the French film Amour by Michael Haneke where he played himself, alongside Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert, although he said that it would not be the start of a film career for him.
The New York Times described his Bach playing at a recital in 2005 as "crisply articulated and vividly etched".
Following Piano intime: conversations avec Nicolas Southon (Philippe Rey, 2013), in 2017 Tharaud published a second book entitled Montrez-moi vos mains (Show me your hands) (Grasset, 2017), in which he recounts his career, methods of working, relationships with colleagues, variations in audiences around the world, and his personal feelings about a musician's life.
Method of work
Tharaud refuses to keep a piano in his residence because he believes he would begin to prefer the pleasure of improvisation to the necessity of rigorous work. He practices on different instruments at friends' residences. He composes, but usually privately. Before each recording he lays flowers at the tomb of Emmanuel Chabrier at Montparnasse Cemetery. When asked what a camera would record at his recording sessions, he replied that he sings, shouts, dances, and argues with the piano ("absurd behaviour"—comportements ridicules).
- Bach, Italian Concertos, Harmonia Mundi, 2005
- Bach, Keyboard concertos, Virgin Classics, 2011
- Emmanuel Chabrier, Complete works for piano, Arion, 2007
- Chopin, Préludes opus 28, Harmonia Mundi, 2008
- Chopin, Journal intime, Virgin Classics, 2009
- Chopin, Intégrale des valses, Harmonia Mundi, 2010
- Couperin, Tic toc choc, Harmonia Mundi, 2007
- Grieg, Lyric pieces, Disques Dante, 1993
- Kagel, Æon, 2003 ; re-issued, Rewind, 2012
- Milhaud, Saudades do Brazil, La muse ménagère, L'album de Madame Bovary (with Madeleine Milhaud), Naxos
- Thierry Pécou, Outre-mémoire, with the ensemble Zellig, Æon
- Thierry Pécou, l'Oiseau innumérable, Harmonia Mundi, 2008
- Poulenc, survey of the chamber music (Sextet, Sonatas with piano for oboe, flute, violin, clarinet, cello), Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, works for two pianos and piano four hands, Le Bal masqué (with Franck Leguérinel, baritone), L'histoire de Babar (French version with François Mouzaya; English version with Natasha Emerson), L'Invitation au Château and Léocadia (with Danielle Darrieux)) for Naxos France
- Poulenc, Debussy, Complete works for cello and piano, with Jean-Guihen Queyras, Harmonia Mundi, 2008
- Poulenc, Pièces pour piano, Arion, 2008
- Rameau, Suites en la et en sol, Harmonia Mundi, 2001
- Ravel, Complete works for piano, Harmonia Mundi, 2003
- Satie, Avant-dernières pensées, Harmonia Mundi, 2009
- Scarlatti, Alexandre Tharaud plays Scarlatti, Virgin Classics, 2011
- Franz Schubert, Moments Musicaux, Sonatas D. 664 and D. 783, Arion, 2000
- Schubert, Divertissement à la hongroise, with Zhu Xiao-Mei, Harmonia Mundi, 2003
- Schubert, Arpeggione Sonata, with Jean-Guihen Queyras, Harmonia Mundi, 2006
- Schubert, complete works for piano four-hands, with Zhu Xiao-Mei
- Autograph (2013)
- Boulez, Messiaen, Jolivet, Dutilleux, Varèse, Musique du XXe pour flûte et piano, with Philippe Bernold, Harmonia Mundi, 2008
- Soundtrack of the film Amour (film of Michael Haneke). Franz Schubert, Beethoven, Bach. Virgin Classics, 2012
- Milhaud, Le Bœuf sur le toit. With Juliette, Madeleine Peyroux, Natalie Dessay, Bénabar, Guillaume Gallienne, Jean Delescluse, Frank Braley. Virgin Classics, 2012
- Piano intime: conversations avec Nicolas Southon (Philippe Rey, 2013) 
- Montrez-moi vos mains (Grasset, 2017) 
- En couverture: Alexandre Tharaud – Le métier de vivre. Interview with Nicolas Baron. Diapason 589, March 2011, p24-28.
- Télérama, n° 3083 du 11 février 2009, p. 14. Propos recueillis par Bernard Mérigaud
- Interview with Alexandre Tharaud by Elizabeth Davis, 2012, on Classical Music . com website, accessed 4 December 2013.
- Une collaboration avait déjà réuni les deux artistes en 2001 lors d'une journée « Satie » dans le cadre du festival de l'Epau 
- En couverture: Alexandre Tharaud. Interview with Vincent Agrech. Diapason, no 556, March 2008, p26-29.
- Interpreting Bach's Interpretation of Contemporaries by Allan Kozinn Published: March 25, 2005, accessed 4 December 2013.
- Alexandre Tharaud : l'étoile solaire, entretien avec Franck Mallet, Classica Repertoire, mars 2007, p 44-47
- Lire interview Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine sur Ramifications.be
- WorldCat entry for Piano intime: conversations avec Nicolas Southon, accessed 21 July 2018.
- WorldCat entry for Montrez-moi vos mains by Alexandre Tharaud, accessed 21 July 2018.
- "Nomination dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres janvier 2016 - Ministère de la Culture". culturecommunication.gouv.fr. Retrieved 18 May 2018.