Pianist Madeleine Forte’s story is one of obstacles and successes, of extraordinary talent, and of a long and fascinating life of international study and performance. Born in Vichy-controlled French Algeria during World War II, she began learning to play the piano at an early age and was soon performing publicly. She made her debut in Vichy at thirteen while studying with Alfred Cortot and Wilhelm Kempff. As a young woman, she went to boarding school in Algiers and Paris, continuing her musical studies. She married young, and the marriage fell apart not long after the birth of her first son, Yann. As she continued to travel, studying and performing, she struggled to establish herself as a professional artist. She studied with Rosina Lhévinne and Martin Canin in New York, married again, and became a professor of music at Boise State University. Her second marriage brought another son, Olen, and lasted fourteen years. After her second divorce, she moved to Connecticut, where she met Allen Forte, her third husband. They collaborated on several artistic projects and performed all over the world.
Praise for Madeleine Forte’s Performances and Recordings
“At a time when national styles have all but dissolved into a generalized international goulash, Forte’s gorgeous tone and sensuous line evoke classic French pianism … her Maurice Ravel holds its own against interpretations by many of her more celebrated peers, from the chaste simplicity of the Sonatine to the virtuosic ‘Gaspard de la Nuit,’ in which no prisoners are taken and no notes are dropped.” —The New Yorker “Madeleine Forte is another master of the French School … She plays Debussy in a manner that would do her old master Cortot proud, with a clear-eyed vigor, pearlescent tone, and attention to detail that does not belie the emotional content of the music but only makes it more coherent.” —Fanfare