Master Harpist Xavier de Maistre With The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

Xavier de Maistre
Xavier de Maistre

Xavier de Maistre harp (France)
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Paul Dyer AO conductor and artistic director

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s May series The Harpist features the celebrated French harpist Xavier de Maistre Xavier in a programme which includes one of the greatest of all harp concertos, written by French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu, who some called ‘The French Mozart.’ Curated by Brandenburg Artistic Director and Conductor Paul Dyer AO, the line-up includes a bracket of three famous works by de Falla, Tarrega and Smetana, transcribed for solo harp that Xavier has been taking to the world’s great concert halls.

Now based in Monte Carlo, Xavier left a prized job as Principal Harpist with the Vienna Philharmonic almost 20 years ago to pursue a solo career and hasn’t looked back. Xavier has extended the boundaries of the harp and redefined its capabilities, playing with breathtaking precision and presenting complex pieces of music that were originally written to be played by an entire orchestra.

“Very few people imagine the wide range of colours which are possible with the harp. It can be percussive or produce a rich full tone too! I actually think of my instrument as an orchestra, trying to reproduce all the gorgeous sounds which I experienced when I was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic” says Xavier.

“Composed by the Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega, Recuerdos de la Alhambra is one of the most famous of all Spanish pieces and has been a part of the repertory of every major guitarist from Andrés Segovia to John Williams,” says Xavier. “Even when played on the guitar, this is a very demanding piece, but on the harp the sustained tremolando represents a particular technical challenge.”
He’ll also play a Spanish Dance by Manuel de Falla and a harp transcription of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s symphonic masterpiece,Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast. The Moldau has been my showpiece since the beginning of my career,” says Xavier.

“The Brandenburg has some showpieces on the bill as well,” says Paul, “including symphonies by Mozart and C.P.E. Bach and our first performance of Ravel’s famous, timeless and sublime Pavane pour une infante défunte.



MOZART Symphony No. 20 in D Major, K. 133 /BOIELDIEU Harp Concerto in C Major, Op. 82 from the album French Concertos for Harp


CPE BACH Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Wq. 183/1/ RAVEL (arr. A PALMER) Pavane pour une infante défunte /DE FALLA Spanish Danse from La Vida Breve (solo harp)/TARREGA Recuerdos de la Alhambra (solo harp)/ SMETANA Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast (solo harp)

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