Xavier de Maistre

Xavier de Maistre is one of today’s leading harpists and a profoundly creative musician. As a fierce champion of his instrument, he has broadened the harp repertoire, commissioning new work from composers. He also creates transcriptions of important instrumental repertoire.

This musical vision has led him to work with conductors including Sir André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, Daniele Gatti, Philippe Jordan, James Gaffigan, Bertrand de Billy, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Daniel Harding, Susanna Mälkki and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. He has been invited by orchestras such as Chicago, Montreal, City of Birmingham, NHK, Swedish and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras; Los Angeles, London, St Petersburg, Oslo and China philharmonic orchestras; Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. In his native France he has worked with Orchestre de Paris, the national orchestras of France and Lyon, the philharmonic orchestras of Radio France, Monte-Carlo, Montpellier, Lille and Nancy, and recitals in Paris and Lille operas, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice, Poitiers and Avignon, among other places.

Parallel to his orchestral concerts, Xavier is passionate about chamber music and regularly puts together original recital projects. In 2020 he began a new collaboration with tenor Rolando Villazón, with whom he records a project of South American folk songs for Deutsche Grammophon. Over the last seasons, he has worked with flamenco and castanet legend Lucero Tena in a programme of Spanish repertoire, touring major venues in Europe, Japan and China, and releasing an album (Sony Classical, 2018). Since summer 2020 he has been in residence at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. As a soloist he has been a guest at many top festivals, including Rheingau, Salzburger Festspielen, Wiener Festwochen, Verbier, Budapest Spring, Würzburg Mozartfest and Mostly Mozart in New York. He also works regularly with Diana Damrau, Arabella Steinbacher, Daniel Müller-Schott, Baiba Skride, Antoine Tamestit, Mojca Erdmann and Magali Mosnier.

During the 2022/23 season, Xavier goes on tour with Orchestre National de France in Germany and in Austria under the direction of Cristian Măcelaru to play Reinhold Glière’s famous harp concerto for the release of his new album. He also performs with Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Paris Chamber Orchestra and at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg. Xavier de Maistre also performs in solo recitals in venues such as the Staatsoper Berlin, in duo with Rolando Villazón at the Staatsoper Frankfurt and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and in duo with Diana Damrau at La Fenice in Venice.

Xavier has been an exclusive Sony Music artist since 2008, when he recorded his first album, Nuit d’Etoiles, dedicated to Debussy. Further releases included Hommage à Haydn (2009), Aranjuez (2010) and Notte Veneziana (2012), featuring significant Baroque repertoire, Moldau (2015), solo harp pieces by Slavic composers, and La Harpe Reine (2016) with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie. His album Christmas Harp (October 2021) features paraphrases and fantasies of famous Christmas carols as well as melodies by Schubert and Tchaikovsky. In autumn 2022, his last CD dedicated to Russian music is released, featuring Reinhold Glière’s famous harp concerto and Alexander Mosolov’s forgotten concerto, accompanied by WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under the baton of Nathalie Stutzmann.

Born in Toulon, Xavier studied the harp with Vassilia Briano at his local conservatoire, before perfecting his technique with Catherine Michel and Jacqueline Borot in Paris. He also studied in Sciences-Po Paris and then at the London School of Economics. In 1998 he was awarded First Prize (and two interpretation prizes) at the prestigious USA International Harp Competition (Bloomington) and became the same year the first French musician to be admitted at the Wiener Philharmoniker.

He has taught at Musikhochschule in Hamburg since 2001.

He plays on a Lyon & Healy instrument.