“After having said a few words about the works, Nézet-Séguin invited Jean-Philippe Sylvestre to play Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. In a bright red shirt, the young pianist went through the 24 variations with dazzling technique, hands that were alternately powerful and caressing, and a real imagination. ”
Claude Gingras, La Presse, July 8, 2011
In 2008, Jean-Philippe Sylvestre was awarded the prestigious Virginia Parker Prize, the highest distinction awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Winner of the first prize in the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal competition, he is also the winner of the national competition for young performers at Radio-Canada and the international Concertino Praga competition. He won first prize three times in the Canadian Music Competition. Renowned conductor Yannick Nézet Séguin calls him a poet of the piano.
Jean-Philippe has performed on several stages including the prestigious Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Fundação de Educação Artística in Brazil, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Pierre-Mercure and Maison Symphonique de Montréal, the Glenn Gould Studio and George Weston Hall in Toronto as well as the National Arts Center in Ottawa.
A native of Ste-Julie, Quebec, Jean-Philippe began his musical studies at the age of four. Laureate of the Vincent-d’Indy School of Music and bachelor of the University of Montreal under the direction of Marc Durand, he continued his musical studies under the guidance of the renowned John Perry and obtained an “Artist Diploma” from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. After a few years of training in Italy, and later in Germany under the direction of Louis Lortie, he continued with great masters such as Michel Dalberto, Jacques Rouvier, Gerhard Oppitz, Jerome Lowenthal, Leon Fleisher, Mikhail Voskresensky, Marie-Françoise Bucquet, Anton Kuerti and Menahem Pressler.
At the 2000 Montreal Symphony Orchestra competition, he won 1st prize, the Audience Prize and the Paul Merkelo scholarship. At the 31st Radio-Canada National Young Interpreters Competition, he won second prize, the audience prize, the prize for best performance of the compulsory work and a scholarship to the Holland Music Sessions.
Jean-Philippe is the recipient of a Fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival and School 2004 and an RBC Youth Excellence Scholarship from the Banff Center 2006. He is also the recipient of a Fellowship from the Music Academy of the West 2009, under Jerome Lowenthal. On several occasions, he has won fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.
In 2006, alongside performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Canadian Opera Company, he performed his own compositions of 24 Wagner Paraphrases and gave the first of three Wagner transcriptions written by Glenn Gould. He is also the recipient of the John Newmark Prize at the 2007 Prix d’Europe. As the winner of the Concertino Praga Competition, he has participated in a series of concerts for the “South Bohemian Festival” in Prague and Bohemia. In 2007 and 2008, he gave recitals at the Orford Arts Center and at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.
In July 2011, he gave concerts with the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet Séguin, to the acclaim of both audience and critics. In recent years, he could also be heard in Santa Barbara and Berlin. In January 2014, he participated in a residency at the Banff Center, and in 2016 won the studio-residency workshop award in Paris, both from the Conseil des Arts du Québec.
He has performed twice at Festival Classica (complete solo works by André Mathieu), has given multiple recitals at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur and performed Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto with the OSDL in 2014.
In 2016, he could be heard in recital in Paris at the Polish Embassy, at the Canadian Cultural Center, at the Vincennes Conservatory and at the Cité Internationale des Arts. He was also invited by Maestro Kent Nagano to perform a concert in the “Virée Classique” of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He also performs as a chamber musician with Stéphane Tétrault, Marc Djokic and Alain Trudel.
A European tour in 2018 (Paris, Toulouse, Brussels, Barcelona and Vienna Musikverein) was followed by an Australian tour in 2019. He is regularly invited to perform with the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, de Longueuil, de Laval, and solo on several continents.
In 2018, he recorded Jacques Hétu’s concerto at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal, with the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval (JUNOS 2021 nomination). His recordings include Tchaikowsky’s Piano Concerto no 1 with the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019. He has also performed André Mathieu’s Concerto de Québec and Rachmaninoff’s 2nd with the Orchestre Métropolitain as well as the complete chamber works of André Mathieu. Under the ATMA CLASSIC label, his records have all received numerous accolades. His Ravel recording on an Erard piano (Ravel’s favourite), released in April 2021, has been particularly well received.
Future concerts include Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto with Orchestre Symphonique de Laval in September 2021.
Mr Sylvestre has collaborated with Maestro Yannick Nézet Séguin, Christian Schulz, Richard Bradshaw, Simon Streatfeild, Alain Trudel, Fabien Gabel, Rolf Bertsch, Marc David and Stéphane Laforest.