At The Age Of 109, The Remarkable Classical Pianist Colette Maze Releases Her Sixth Album

Colette Maze stands as a true marvel among us. Beyond her extraordinary lifespan, which in itself is remarkable, she continues to astound the world with her exceptional piano skills, culminating in the upcoming release of her sixth album at the incredible age of 109. Titled “109 Years of Music,” this album promises a rich repertoire including compositions by Schumann, Gershwin, Piazzolla, and her beloved Debussy.

Born in June 1914, Colette’s journey with music began when she was captivated by the piano melodies drifting down from the flat above hers, where children played. With a violinist mother and a grandfather who was also musically inclined, her innate musicality was recognized early on. At the age of 15, she embarked on her formal musical education at the prestigious École Normale de Musique.

Josephmathmusic aptly notes, “Very Impressive! Less than 10 years younger than the piece she plays.” Indeed, Debussy, one of Colette’s favorite composers, passed away in 1918 when she was just four years old. Colette reminisces to Pianote about possibly crossing paths with Debussy in her childhood neighborhood, as he lived nearby. At the École Normale de Musique, she honed her craft under the guidance of illustrious teachers such as Alfred Cortot, Georges Dandelot, Jeanne Blancard, and Nadia Boulanger.

Despite her musical prowess, Colette faced adversity on the home front. Her parents, though recognizing her talent, opposed her pursuing a career in music. Their stringent rules, including forbidding Colette from being alone in their flat, severely limited her practice time. Consequently, she reached the teaching level but was unable to progress to the performance level.

Colette embarked on her teaching career during the challenging interwar period, navigating even greater hurdles during and after World War II as a single mother to her son, Fabrice. Despite her parents’ lack of support, she persevered, teaching piano to make ends meet. It was Fabrice who eventually persuaded her to share her gift with the world through recordings, recognizing the importance of preserving her legacy.

Her first album, “Préludes 1er livre/Preludes 1st book,” was released when she was 87, marking the beginning of her recording career. Her fifth album, “Un Siècle avec Debussy/A Century with Debussy,” debuted in 2021, and now, at 109, she is poised to release her sixth album.

Colette’s dedication to music remains unwavering. She continues to spend four to five hours daily at her pianos, residing in the same apartment overlooking the Seine since she was eighteen. Music, for her, is not just a passion but a lifeline, an essential element of her existence that she cannot fathom living without.

In her own words, “Music is my food, my breath, my reason for being.” And as Fabrice humorously adds, alongside music, his mother’s indispensable companions are cheese, chocolate, and a good glass of wine. Truly, Colette Maze embodies the timeless connection between music and the human spirit, a testament to the enduring power of artistry and passion across the ages.

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