“Wael Farouk's all-Russian two-CD set gives us familiar repertoire played with a new light and freshness. Here is piano playing that brings chills to the flesh, performed with a rare virtuoso technique.”
— David Dubal, faculty at the Julliard School and author of The Art of the Piano
Hailed as “a formidable and magnificent pianist” by the New York Concert Review, Egyptian pianist Wael Farouk has already had an extensive performing career at the age of 31. With a vast repertoire spanning from Scarlatti to Bolcom, he commands more than 50 concertos and 60 solo programs, including the complete piano works of Chopin and Rachmaninoff. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras on three continents and has given the Egyptian premieres of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, and 3.
Mr. Farouk has performed with numerous conductors, including Christoph Mueller, Steven Lloyd, Patrick Fournilier, and Philippe Entremont. He has toured England, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, Columbia, and Japan, including venues such as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, the Kurt Masur Hall at the Johann Sebastian Bach Music School in Leipzig, and Schumann’s house. In 2004, Mr. Farouk was given the honor of playing on Tchaikovsky’s piano—the first pianist to do so since Vladimir Horowitz.
Mr. Farouk’s career was born out of adversity. Despite receiving the highest scores on his entrance exams at the Cairo Conservatory, he originally was turned away due his small stature and an unusual hand condition that prevents him from making a fist or straightening his fingers. Admitted for a trial period at the age of seven, Mr. Farouk overcame all odds and became one of the conservatory’s most accomplished graduates.
At the Cairo Conservatory, Mr. Farouk studied with Samir Aziz, Vselod Demidov, and Edgar Davelienadze. Mr. Farouk began his graduate studies in the United States at the Catholic University of America, where he studied on a Fulbright Fellowship with Marilyn Neeley. He earned his Masters of Music from Converse College (studying with Doug Weeks), Professional Studies Diploma from Manhattan School of Music (studying with Solomon Mikowsky) as recipient of the coveted Elva van Gelder Memorial Scholarship, and Artist Diploma from Chicago School of Performing Arts (also with Dr. Mikowsky). He presently is working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rutgers University (studying with Daniel Epstein), where he is a recipient of the prestigious Ralph Johnson Bunche Distinguished Graduate Award.
Mr. Farouk is on the faculty of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He released his first solo album this May on Carlock Records.