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With his lush and sophisticated instrumental approach to pop music, Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès) is, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, "the most successful pianist in the world." Clayderman's albums routinely sell millions of copies and his concerts are quickly sold out. In a review of his 1985 Carnegie Hall concert, Variety wrote, "(Clayderman's) main appeal lies in his youth and boyish good looks...coupled with his gentlemanly charm and his thick French accent, they promise to rope in the romantically inclined middle-aged Yank ladies who cotton to this ilk of soothing entertainment." Nancy Reagan referred to Clayderman as "the prince of romance." Instructed in classical piano by his father, Clayderman enrolled in the Paris Conservatory of Music at the age of 12. Four years later, he placed first in a piano competition at the school. Despite his classical background, Clayderman opted for popular music when he launched his professional career. A tour as opening act for French rock musician Johnny Hallyday introduced him to an international following. Clayderman's debut album, Ballade Pour Adeline, recorded at the urging of producers and composers Oliver Toussaint and Paul de Senneville in 1977, sold more than 20 million copies and was distributed in 38 countries. Clayderman, who took his stage name from his Swedish grandmother, has continued to tour throughout the world to enthusiastic audiences. A live concert broadcast on Chinese television in 1987 attracted more than 800 million viewers.
His vast discography of well over 200 albums, released on and licensed to many different labels worldwide, has seen him record everything from light classics to Andrew Lloyd Webber love songs, Bollywood movie soundtracks, and the folk music of Germany, Turkey, and Japan. While this willingness to turn his hand to anything fueled his worldwide popularity, it is the unthreatening homogeneity of his output that won him a loyal, late-middle-aged fanbase similar to that of another European titan of light classical music, André Rieu. In the early 2010s, Clayderman enjoyed an upsurge in mainstream popularity, perhaps partly as a kitsch nostalgia act, but also on the part of canny marketing men who positioned him as part of that eras classical crossover explosion. His 2013 album for Decca, Romantique -- arguably his highest-profile release ever -- featured a mélange of film music, pop and light classical standards, and a re-recording of his best-known tune, "Ballade pour Adeline".
Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès, 28 December 1953) is a French pianist who has released numerous albums including the compositions of Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint, instrumental renditions of popular music, rearrangements of movie soundtracks, ethnic music, and easy-listening arrangements of popular works of classical music.
Clayderman learned piano from his father, a piano teacher.
At the age of twelve, he was accepted into the Conservatoire de Paris, where he won great acclaim in his later adolescent years. Financial difficulties, precipitated by his father's illness, forestalled a promising career as a classical pianist. So in order to earn a living, he found work as a bank clerk and as an accompanist to contemporary bands. He accompanied French singers such as Johnny Hallyday, Thierry Le Luron, and Michel Sardou.
Ballade pour Adeline
In 1976, he was invited by Olivier Toussaint, a French record producer, and his partner Paul de Senneville, to record a gentle piano ballad. De Senneville had composed this ballad as a tribute to his new daughter "Adeline". The 23-year-old Pagès was auditioned along with 20 other pianists and got the job. "He was an interesting musician with a soft touch and good technique", said Toussaint. "And he looked good, too".
Pagès' name was changed to Richard Clayderman (he adopted his great-grandmother's last name to avoid mispronunciation of his real name outside France), and the single took off, selling 34 million copies in 38 countries. It was called "Ballade pour Adeline".Clayderman.co.uk
Clayderman has recorded over 1,300 melodies, and has created a new romantic style through a repertoire which combines his trademark originals with classics and pop standards. He has devoted much of his time performing concerts, going as far as playing 200 shows in 250 days. As of 2006, his record sales number at approximately 150 million, and has 267 gold and 70 platinum albums to his credit. He is popular in Asia and is noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as being "the most successful pianist in the world".
He lives in Saint-Ouen (near Paris) with his wife Christine, his son Peter, and his daughter Maud.Taipeitimes.com