Richard Clayderman Biography
Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès on December 28, 1953, Paris, France) is a French pianist who has released numerous albums, including renditions and arrangements of popular music, French chansons, and popular piano works of Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart.
Most of his recordings focus on popular music in general and orchestral arrangements of well-known romantic songs in particular, such as Yesterday, The Sound of Silence and Memory, rather than on Jazz or Classical Music.
Born to a piano teacher, Clayderman started studying to play piano at age six, and he was accepted at a Conservatory of Music in Paris at age 12. After finishing Conservatory he worked as an accompanist and session musician. His life changed dramatically in 1976, when he recorded a single "Ballade pour Adeline". The single became an instant success, selling 22 million copies in 38 countries. Since then, he has recorded over 1000 songs and has become one of the most successful instrumental recording artists in the world, with reported record sales in excess of 70 million units worldwide. In the peak of his career he performed 200 concerts in 250 days.
He is often credited with pioneering the piano recordings of famous Hollywood soundtracks and pop music artists, such as ABBA.
Clayderman has a curious market niche on third world countries, a fact mainly attributed by critics to his commercially-oriented performance of local and very popular music (especially love songs), and inexpensive, well-distributed records.
Some Chinese music teachers attribute the popularity of his music in Mainland China to the increase in the number of piano students since the 1980s. According to the book Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams, published 1990, Clayderman was the most-played artist in China then.