Pär Lindh – Composer – Pianist – Harpsichordist – Organist – Keyboard Legend
Pär Lindh began playing the piano at the age of five, but serious lessons on piano and church organ began at the age of nine. By sixteen he had already studied for many prominent teachers in Sweden and was giving recitals on organ, harpsichord, and piano and was also working part-time as organist in several churches.
At the age of eighteen he was invited to become the youngest-ever full member of the Royal Swedish Chamber orchestra, a position he stayed in for four years performing over a hundred concerts in the Royal Palace in Stockholm as well as tours in Europe. A year later Pär was invited to study at Schola Cantorum in Paris, and in 1980 he moved to Paris to study at the very highest levels of the school where he also earned a soloist diploma.
Having received the French government´s cultural grant for exceptional talent two years in a row, Pär decided to stay on in France to pursue a career as a baroque musician, mostly performing concerts as harpsichordist but also as organist and pianist.
All in all, Pär had studied for some thirty prominent teachers of which half were internationally famous like Marie-Claire Alain, Kenneth Gilbert, Luciano Sgrizzi, Huguette Dreyfus, Ton Koopman (masterclass), Varujan Kojian (conductor of the Stockholm Opera and several top American orchestras), Inger Grudin-Brandt, Joan Benson and Ani Gazarian who was a pupil of the great Alfred Cortot (Cortot studied under Émile Decombes who was a student of Fédéric Chopin). Pär was also the last person to take lessons from the great Ruggiero Gerlin, who had been Wanda Landowska´s foremost pupil. So of all organists, harpsichordists and pianists in our time and age probably no one can claim to have aquired quite the same extraordinary knowledge and profound insights of keyboard playing as has Mr. Lindh.
Says Pär: ¨I went from teacher to teacher to pick up all the knowledge I possibly could because I really wanted to learn everything there was to know about the art of playing harpsichord, clavichord, organ and the grand piano!¨
From the late seventies to the early nineties Pär performed classical concerts in France, USA, Germany, Italy, Sweden, England and Estonia. He loved to play the harpsichord in french chateaux in the eighties and was invited to do so on many occasions by cultural societies. He was also asked to play as soloist for many prominent people like the Michelin family at their Paris residence. In 1984 Pär was asked to play at short notice for the two presidents Ronald Reagan and Francois Mitterand at an Elysée palace dinner as a replacement for William Christi, who had mysteriously disappeared and was nowhere to be found. However, an hour before the event Mr. Christi reappeared so Pär could after having recieved a handsome fee quietly take the day off and put the whole affair on the missed opportunity list.
In 1988 Pär performed a string of successful concerts in the USA as Sweden was celebrating its 350 year history of the first Swedish ship, the Klamar Nyckel, to arrive in the US (apart of course from the Vikings who were there some 600 years earlier!). The Swedish King and Queen were present as were many other Swedish celebrities.
As the baroque wave ebbed in the late eighties, and dissillusioned by the fact that it became harder and harder to make a living performing classical concerts, Pär decided to change musical direction and pursue an old dream of integrating classical music into a more modern genre, namely that of progressive rock.
After a successful 15-year run with his band Pär Lindh Project (or PLP in short) where he toured and headlined festival after festival in North and South America many times, as well as doing several European tours, Pär has now returned to a classical career.
Pär Lindh has recieved aproximately a thousand great reviews worldwide both of his concert performances as well as of his albums which has sold all over the world.
Here is just one example of a review from a concert in France:
¨ What is appealing about the playing of this Swede is the constant clarity of his phrasing that is so well adapted to the spirit of each piece. He has found the ideal tempos for the third Partita by J. S. Bach, playing without hurry and even with a kind of modesty which just added the very emotional rendering of this suite.
His version of the Pavanne by Louis Couperin was remarkably executed from the beginning to the end due to his noble cadensas and the very French elegance of his playing.
With great pleasure we listened to his version of the famous G-minor suite by G. F. Handel. Pär Lindh there resurrected the vivacity, the ¨esprit¨, the kind of sensuality that characterizes the music of the composer of ¨Messiah¨, qualities which Pär Lindh transcended in a magnificent way. And it was with five sonatas by Domanico Scarlatti that Pär Lindh ended this excellent concert.
Once again, Mr Lindh showed astounding technique, mastery and refiniment, chiseling out in the manner of a goldsmith each of these harmonically rich pieces.
A fine artist, authentic and inspired.
Georges LEPRINCE (France)
1) CRESCENDO: Pär Lindh , You are the founder of the progressive rock group the Pär Lindh Project. Tell us how the group came into beeing? And also what does the present lineup of the band look like?
Pär: Hello! Well I started the Pär Lindh Project or PLP in 1995 as a result of my first solo album Gothic Impressions becoming a worldwide sensation getting stellar reviews and awards in many countries. I was then asked to tour on a worldwide basis but I had no band so I had to very quickly form PLP as a touring unit.
The present lineup is William Kopecky on bass, Al Lewis vocals, David Lillqvist drums and on keyboards your truly.
2) CRESCENDO: What was your musical history before the start of the Par Lindh Project in 1995?
Pär: Before PLP I had a classical carreer as pianist, organist and harpsichordist. But since my youth I have had a love of the progressive music which at it´s best is a mixture of classical music and rock music.
3) CRESCENDO: For those who are not to familiar with your music can you give us a short introduction to the Pär Lindh Project.
Pär: The music of PLP you could say has the structure of classical music but is played with a mixture of both older and modern instruments which is to say both electric instruments as well as using classical instruments. My influences are many but baroque music is one of them.
4) CRESCENDO: Your latest album ¨Time Mirror¨ is certainly a new direction for the band. Are you in the precess of writing/recording an album with the new lineup? And are there any soloprojects in the pipeline?
Pär: I have many albums in the pipeline. I have written a classical orchestra concerto which I will record in the fall for release on CD. I have also material for a new progressive rock album as well a jazzalbum and I have also completed most of the recordings for a CD release where I play organ, harpsichord and piano pieces.
5) CRESCENDO: In 1991 you and friends started the Swedish Art Rock Society. What was the idea behind it? And what role did it play for the upcoming wave of Swedish progressive rock which since then have reached world-wide fame?
Pär: It´s seems that the Swedish Art Rock Society CRIMSON which I started along with friends in 1991 played an very important role in the nineties not only for the Swedish scene but also on a worldwide basis. And the reason for this was the timing of it. A lot of people around the world were dreaming of a revival of progressive music and suddenly there was this buzz of the worlds first ever festival for progressive rock had taken place in a country called Sweden. This encouraged a lot of bands in Sweden to make albums and proglovers around the world to start thinking in terms of making albums and progressive festivals as well. Internet was very important in this process as the main media had been putting prog music down for so long. What people don´t know is that progressive rock was the single biggest genre on the internet althrough the nineties!
6) CRESCENDOHow do you explain your affection for progressive rock to a young person?
Pär: Progressive rock means total freedom of expression and is a style for musical development rather than to stagnate in excisting formulas. Progressive rock is not an commercial musicstyle and has not been promoted by the musicindustry or the main media since the seventies. You can truly say that this music has been blacked out totally by the main media in the western world since the late seventies. So it is very difficult to reach out with the music under these circumstances. However PLP was fortunate in the nineties to get bigtime success in Argentina and Brazil which then made the USA and European countries aware of us and made them start booking us to headline festivals etc.
7) CRESCENDO: ANGLAGARD was the headlining act 2012 and Pär Lindh Project will be this years headlining act of the CRESCENDO festival. What are your expectations?
Pär: I don´t know this festival at all but I look forward very much to come and play. I love France having studied music in Paris and also I have played many concerts in France. I remember playing a harpsichord recital at a castle outside Bordeaux many years ago so coming back to this area and play feels very emotional and exciting!
8) CRESCENDO: What is your impression of France since you have studied and lived here for several years in the past.
Pär: Well I have very fond memories of La France and it has formed my life. For instance I played one of my pieces at a concert last night in Sweden and a guy came up to me and said that the music sounded very french!
I´m acctually going to Paris for a few days of vacation this spring and it feels like coming home in a way.
9) CRESCENDO: Who is your classical composer par preferance ?
Pär: Johann Sebastian BACH
CRESCENDO: Merci beaucoup.
Thank you very much