Piano, TV, a Cat and the best way against Coronavirus

He is one of the most famous pianists in the world, perhaps even the most famous, with career lasting more than five decades. Romantic prince, as his nickname is, is legendary performer with audience all over the globe. But Covid partly changed Richard Clayderman’s life too. Not in complete because he would never allow it, but anyway. What he’s doing during this period, what his life is like and some other things he told in exclusive interview for Estrada.si.

What are you doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The first confinement started a year ago and we could not imagine that it would last more than 1 or 2 months. But over one year later we are still confined or semi-confined. We were able to go shopping and for walks in parks, but for no more than one hour. And sometimes it was not possible to leave Paris. I owe everything to the music and for the past 50 years I have been permanently on the road, either in France or around the world and this is the first time that I have been confined this way. Lucky I am that I could practise my piano every day for hours and hours and I could practise my scales with great pleasure.

Like most people around the world I watched a lot of TV and too often the programmes on the news channels discussed the coronavirus, the situation in hospitals, future vaccines and there were plenty of doctors and professors talking about Covid. I was lucky to have my piano so I wasn’t too stressed and I had time to relax. I was able to watch movies that I hadn’t been able to watch. I watched some shows on Netflix and listened to some CDs that I never had time to listen to. So, for some time it was quite profitable for me to be confined because I was able to do things that my schedule would otherwise not give me the opportunity to do. I also devoted a lot of time to reading. I enjoy reading biographies of famous musicians, actors, singers, TV presenters and I read a lot of those, much to my pleasure. I have a cross-trainer at my apartment so that gives me the opportunity to work-out and to exercise to stay in good physical condition.

From time to time, I was recording some videos for my English or Chinese websites and I did some interviews by video. When we were permitted to go outside Paris, I visited my mother at her retirement home which is about 100 km outside of Paris. So, as often as possible, I visited my mother, which is usually quite difficult for me because I am so busy, so I was happy to be able to talk with her and visit her. I remember about six months ago I was requested by my contacts in China to visit the Zoo de Beauval which is wonderful. My contacts in China wanted me to try to take advantage of visiting the Zoo de Beauval to take some photos with the pandas. In fact the French First Lady had welcomed these two pandas who were sent by China to live in Zoo de Beauval. My Chinese contacts wanted me to take photos with the pandas because pandas are so revered in China. But on this day it was not possible, because the pandas decided to hide themselves away. But I had the opportunity to visit Zoo de Beauval and I recommend it to anyone if they have an opportunity to visit France.

What about concerts and tours? What is the situation?

When the confinement started, my concert schedule was tight. I had plenty of concerts that were due to be performed in 2020, and even now for 2021. Most shows won’t be performed until the third or fourth quarter of 2021 and hopefully many concerts will be performed in 2022. I am of course very much looking forward to performing on stage again. I realised that since I was 20, I have been on the road permanently. I realised that I had not been in France for more than 3 weeks in a row, and this is the first time that I have spent one year in the same country.

Have you created any new material?

Of course I had time to work on plenty of new material that I wish to perform at my future concerts, in particular, a medley of very famous film themes, such as Superman, Gladiator, Out of Africa, Jurassic Park and many others, and I was also working on semi-classical titles, such as a lovely theme by Tchaikovsky called Waltz of the Flowers, which is a pleasure to perform, and I was also working on The Radetzky March, which I am sure will suit the show and delight people. I also refreshed some arrangements of my standard titles like Ballade pour Adeline, Childhood Memories, or Wedding of Love. Lately, I have been working on some new recordings which should be released on CD at the end of this year by November 2021. I went to the studio, and we were all wearing masks to avoid catching COVID.

Have you been experiencing something new during this past year?

Not really, but something new that I did experience is my cat. In fact, my wife and I were wishing to have a kitten and she was delivered to us last July. This is a ragdoll cat and we decided to call her Villanelle. This cat is now near me every time I play my piano. Sometimes she is even on the piano or on the keyboard or on my music stand. She is happy to live with my piano, so she is my best audience at the moment. Any time we come back to our apartment, she is there waiting for us at the door and she likes to sleep with us on our bed.

How do you protect your health?

I always make sure that I wear a mask and I avoid being in places with lots of people or where there is a crowd, and I don’t go into supermarkets where there are too many people.

What is your opinion of COVID and the measures?

Well, it is necessary to protect oneself and I regret that sometimes people are not as careful as they should be. They don’t wear the mask as they should, they shake hands, they do not respect the distancing, they kiss each other when they greet each other and this is regrettable because the government sometimes has to impose stricter measures. Of course, on TV and the radio we can hear that some people are against the government when it decides on such a measure, some are in favour of the measures, others are not, people fight each other on TV shows… It’s quite interesting because people never agree. There are always those who are for and against the measures.

During the Autumn you will be performing in Zagreb. Do you plan to perform a concert in Slovenia?

At the moment, I have no plans to perform in Slovenia because it’s not easy to find a date in my planning as November is extremely busy, and to combine availability in my planning with availability in the halls in Slovenia means that it is not easy to plan a show. But it is always a pleasure for me to be back in this country and the more I can perform there, the happier I am.