“Wael Farouk's all-Russian two-CD set gives us familiar repertoire played with a new light and freshness. Here is piano playing that brings chills to the flesh, performed with a rare virtuoso technique.”
— David Dubal, faculty at the Julliard School and author of The Art of the Piano
Major Piano Works of Franz Liszt (10-recital series)
Chicago—Ganz Recital Hall, Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat
Munster, Indiana—the Auditorium at Bethel Church
Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra with Kirk Muspratt, conductor
February 12, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Birmingham, Alabama—Samford School of the Arts
February 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp Minor
Cairo, Egypt—Cairo Opera House
Cairo Symphony Orchestra with Ahmed El-Saidi, conductor
May 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Hailed as “a formidable and magnificent pianist” by the New York Concert Review, Egyptian-born pianist Dr. Wael Farouk has had an extensive worldwide performing career. With a vast repertoire spanning from Rameau to Bolcom, he commands more than 70 concertos and 60 solo programs, including the complete piano works of J. S. Bach, Brahms, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, as well as the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, Scriabin, and Prokofiev.
He has appeared as a soloist and recitalist on five continents and has given the Egyptian premieres of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, and 3.
Farouk made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in June 2013, which received rave reviews as “absolutely masterful playing.” The recital also inaugurated his five-recital cycle performances of the complete solo piano works of Rachmaninoff, which the Chicago Tribune described as “historical.” His solo album Russian Portraits was released on the Carlock Records label in 2013.
In the 2015-2016 season, Farouk will be giving a ten-recital cycle of the major works of Franz Liszt, covering the complete Transcendental Etudes, complete Concert Etudes, complete Hungarian Rhapsodies, Beethoven and Berlioz symphonic transcriptions, and numerous opera and song transcriptions.
Farouk has performed with numerous conductors, including Christoph Mueller, Steven Lloyd, Patrick Fournilier, and Philippe Entremont. He has toured England, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, Colombia, and Japan, including venues such as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, the Kurt Masur Hall at the Johann Sebastian Bach Music School in Leipzig, and Schumann’s house. In 2004, Farouk was given the honor of playing on Tchaikovsky’s piano—the first pianist to do so since Vladimir Horowitz.
Farouk’s career was born out of adversity. Despite receiving the highest scores on his entrance exams at the Cairo Conservatory, he originally was turned away due his small stature and an unusual hand condition that prevents him from making a fist or straightening his fingers. Admitted for a trial period at the age of seven, Farouk overcame all odds and eventually became one of the conservatory’s most accomplished graduates.
At the Cairo Conservatory, Farouk studied with Samir Aziz, Vselod Demidov, and Edgar Davelienadze. Farouk began his graduate studies in the United States at the Catholic University of America, where he studied on a Fulbright Fellowship with Marilyn Neeley. He earned his Masters of Music from Converse College (studying with Doug Weeks), Professional Studies Diploma from Manhattan School of Music (studying with Solomon Mikowsky) as recipient of the coveted Elva van Gelder Memorial Scholarship, Artist Diploma from Chicago School of Performing Arts (also with Dr. Mikowsky), and Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University (studying with Daniel Epstein), where he was a recipient of the prestigious Ralph Johnson Bunche Distinguished Graduate Award.
Farouk is on the faculty of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.