Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès) was born on December 28th 1953 in Paris, France. Music became a part of his life at a very young age as his father, a piano teacher, taught him the fundamental skills and techniques of the instrument.
By the time he was twelve, he was accepted into the Conservatoire of Music and studied there throughout his teenage years. One of his great achievements came when he won first prize in a piano performance at the age of sixteen. His choice to be a classical pianist in the future was unsurprising to most but his father’s illness meant that he had to find part time employment, working as a session musician and accompanist for financial support. Despite this, he enjoyed the experience, with many of his performances being noticed and quickly increased in popularity. This gave him the opportunity to play alongside major French musicians such as Michel Sardou, Thierry LeLuron and Johnny Halliday.
The turning point in his career came in 1976 when French Record producer, Olivier Toussaint and Paul de Senneville contacted him in search for a pianist to record a ballad composed by de Senneville entitled “Adeline”, a tribute to his new born daughter. After a round of auditions with twenty other pianists, he came out successful and got the job. The single, “Ballade pour Adeline” was an instant hit, selling an outstanding 22 million copies in over 38 countries, greatly exceeding everyone’s expectations. This was also when Pagès changed his surname to Clayderman in order to prevent people outside France from mispronouncing his real name.
Clayderman’s growing popularity, combined with his unique piano playing style was met with more success and has recorded over 1,200 melodies and has sold a total of 90 million records throughout his career. He was also credited for creating a “New Romantic” style in which he adapted his trademark original works into both classic and pop standards. However, his superstar status threw him into a gruelling tour schedule, at one point having performed 200 concerts in 250 days.
Despite his busy agenda, he always makes time for his family, who reside in Normandy with his wife, Typhaine, his son, Peter and his daughter, Maud.