Contemporary composer and pianist Alexis Ffrench reached beyond British classical music's core audience by mixing his classical background with roots and R&B. In a conscious move to dissolve the genre's boundaries Ffrench embraced contemporary styles, modern formats, and performance spaces not commonly associated with classical music. His 2018 single "Bluebird" illustrated his melodic, soulful style often repudiated in the classical world.
EvolutionRaised in Bagshot, Surrey in a strict Catholic household, Ffrench began to learn piano at the age of four and was a church organist at seven. He later earned scholarships to study at the Purcell School for Young Musicians in 1981, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His first success was as a solo pianist in 1992 following his win at the first Portobello Concert Artists Awards. That same year, he made his concerto debut in Simon Rattle's Towards the Millennium, series where he performed "Rhapsody in Blue" at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. His recording career began in 2006 with Piano Diaries and a series of albums followed throughout the 2000s and into the 2010s. Unlike many classical composers whose music was most commonly found in physical formats, Ffrench made a concerted effort to push his music through streaming services more commonly associated with popular music. Along with his modern approach to the distribution of his work, Ffrench also sought to challenge preconceived notions of classical music's style and performance by integrating soul into his compositions and presenting his work at Latitude Festival. After signing to Sony in 2017 he put out a cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and the single "Bluebird." The following year Ffrench released the album Evolution.
"If a single person epitomises the new push towards making classical music more diverse, eclectic and unstuffy, it's Alexis Ffrench."The Times
UK contemporary pianist and composer Alexis Ffrench releases; ‘Dreamland', via Sony Music. Alexis' wish for ‘Dreamland' is for it to be a source of comfort in troubled times for the listener; an album to comfort, rebalance and inspire change.
Alexis, said: "In writing the album, Dreamland, I wanted to shine a light in times of darkness as an antidote to our troubled times; to give listeners an opportunity to stop, listen and breathe, if only for one three minute track. I hope listeners use Dreamland as a form of escapism, to transport them to a safe and calm oasis in which they can create time for self-care, often an afterthought in our busy, stressful working lives."