“We are talking about an excellent musician, pianist and composer” - said Olivier Messiaen, defining him in the ‘sixties. In the words of Frederic Gevers: “Antoni Besses is an accomplished pianist. His musicality is both intense and distinguished, his technique perfect. He has tremendous sensitivity and undertakes the works with a creative spirit, escaping any academic approach.”
He has a wide repertoire, and is considered to be one of the most solid stars amongst contemporary performers, whose interpretative qualities were already pointed out by Pierre Sancan: “...I always had the feeling that I was dealing with one of the performers who responded most sincerely to the message of the music, the deeper significance of which too many virtuosos seem to be unaware.”
Born in Barcelona in 1945, he studied there at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música, under Joan Gibert Camins, Joaquim Zamacois and Joan Massià. In Paris, he worked with Pierre Sancan and Olivier Messiaen and, in Antwerp, with F. Gevers. He has also collaborated with and been advised by Guido Agosti, Alicia de Larrocha, Vlado Perlemuter, Alberto Ginastera, not forgetting our famous composer Frederic Mompou, who said: “... he is a complete musician with a solid training. In addition to his high standing as a pianist -- in which I am pleased to include a faithful interpretation of my work — he displays an outstanding ability in the field of composition and as a conductor”.
Pianist, composer, conductor and teacher -- all part of his brilliant list of achievements: First Prize from the French Institute in Barcelona; awarded First Prize -- Drago de Plata -- at the International Competition of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1968); Diplôme Superieur avec Grande Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp (1977); Finalist of the Viña del Mar International Competition (Chile, 1978); First Prize for Orchestra Conductor (Antwerp, 1979).
He has performed in the most distinguished concert halls in Europe and the rest of the world, with such famous conductors as Sergiu Comissiona, Aaron Copland, Igor Markevitch, Emil Simon, amongst others. He has worked in close collaboration with musicians of international prestige, like Radu Adulescu, Marçal Cervera, Gonçal Comellas, Eva Graubin, Cristoph Henkel.
With his profound research into the work of Bach, he has left his personal impression on such fundamental works as Das Wohltemperirte Klavier (entire work) and the Goldberg Variations, which he has played in public more than forty times, and is considered to be one of its best interpreters – now recorded on CD by Edicions Moraleda. Other remarkable recordings are also noteworthy: Blancafort (entire work), Falla (entire work), Mompou (entire work), Brahms, Franck, Granados, Schubert, Turina, Villalobos, as well as his own compositions.
He has been a lecturer at the Barcelona Conservatoire for many years, and has been teaching at the ESMUC in that city for the past six years, involved in an intense educational activity, imparting numerous Master-Classes and lectures in Madrid (Conservatorio Superior), Warsaw (Chopin Academy), Quebec (Faculty of Music), and Kuhmo (International Music Festival).