Winner of BBC Music Magazine’s 2018 Newcomer of the Year Award, Julien began learning piano at the age of 5 and first performed on stage at the Salle Cortot (Paris) at the age of 7. He was taught by Erik Berchot at the Conservatoire National de Région de Marseille and Rena Shereshevskaya at the l’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot. He was supported by the Zaleski Foundation, Assophie association and the Safran Foundation during its training. He was spotted in January 2013 by Maria João Pires during a course at the Cité de la Musique (Paris) and was subsequently invited by her to develop artistic projects at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and be one of the founding members of the Partitura Project.
Since then Maria and Julien have performed together in numerous concerts across the world, including with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra at the prestigious Chopin Festival, the L’Opera di Firenze in the Great Artists Series, the Sheldonian Theater (Oxford), Alfredo Kraus Auditorium (Las Palmas) and Philharmonie de Paris. In addition, they have contributed to the influence of classical music in society, particularly in India. Additional aims of the Partitura Project are to also transport music and art to unusual places, run workshops in the community and pioneer educational projects for children in difficulty (such as the Equinox social choir project created by Maria João Pires – of which Julien has been actively involved).
Aside from Julien’s work with the Partitura Project, he has also performed many concerts across the globe including at Classique au Vert, Piano aux Jacobins, Nohant Festival and Tippet Rise Festival (Montana). Highlights of the 18/19 season include recitals at the Cambridge Music Festival, Chopin Society (London) and NCPA (Beijing), plus, he is also an avid composer and will be working on several projects focused on this side of his career too.
Video & Audio
From The Green Room
23 Mar 18 Reflections: Mompou & Ravel CD Reviews
“Brocal is a musician of distinction whose imaginative, intelligent and cultivated piano-playing is at once seductive and authoritative. In fact, the perfection and maturity of his Ravel is little short of astonishing. Brocal’s sensitivity to the composer’s subtlest indications on the page allows his performances to take flight in a corona of shifting colours and moods.”
“I urge you not to miss the opportunity to hear this singular talent.”
“From the highly impressive Julien Brocal, who gives us Mompou and Ravel, there’s the Catalan composer’s three Paisajes (‘Landscapes’) – miniature, visionary and, here, fabulously played. The third of the set, ‘Carros de Galicia’ (‘Carts of Galicia’) stretches tonality to its limits and the effect is pure magic.”
” […] here we have a pianist of exceptional talents. His fingers are up to anything […] and he has an unusually acute perception of the right balance of a chord”
Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine, July 18
“Exceptional, fluid, flexible and colourful playing […] the recorded sound is as crystal clear as Brocal’s playing. A superb follow up to his award winning Chopin”
Andrew MacGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review , 5 May 18
“L’équilibre de ce piano est singulier : basses impondérables toujours dans la résonance, médium clair et ample, aigus nacrés, sans aucune dureté, qui continuent à briller dans l’harmonie, et que Julien Brocal manie avec une délicatesse extrême, composant les timbres avec quelque chose d’onirique dans la conduite des phrasés, et jusque dans le flot des mesures qu’on ne voit plus tant les paysages les ont remplacées.”
“Brocal ist ein intensiver Gestalter klanglicher Innenräume – zu Recht hat er dem Album den nachdenklichen Titel „Reflections“ gegeben.”
Peter Uehling, Berliner Zeitung, April 18
13 Nov 17 Ravel 'Mirroirs' Duo Recital with Maria João Pires Philharmonie de Paris
“Pureté et émerveillement d’un paysage, mettons le superbe jardin de Sintra, ou bien le jardin extraordinaire de Trenet.”
” […] le thème de la Fantaisie en fa mineur D 940 est poignant, saisissant de douceur et de mélancolie”
19 Jan 17 CD: Les états d’Âme Rubicon Classics
“Brocal offers a thoughtful traversal of Chopin’s Op 28 Preludes, knitting together these 24 miniatures – some lasting barely half a minute – to form a coherent whole. His playing is quietly riveting, drawing the attention without grand gestures, and so focused that the melodies in ostensibly busy little pieces like No 3 and No 8 hold their stillness while the decorative gossamer accompaniment spirals around them.”
★★★★ Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 12th January 2017
“His traversal of the 24 Preludes is spellbinding, and for all the right reasons. Where many dive headlong into the opening C major piece, Brocal is more measured, though he delivers plenty of virtuosity as the cycle unfolds…. [For the Sonata in B flat minor] the pianist strikes a compelling balance between Romantic volatility and Classical elegance.”
★★★★★ John Allison, BBC Music Magazine, March 2017