George François an exponent of folk idiom
George François is a Ghanaian concert pianist of international repute. Born into a musical family, he began piano lessons as early as age 2.
His advanced studies took him to the University of Ghana and later to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, where he won the Charles James Heywood Prize for Piano, the Charles Hall Scholarship, and the Terence Weill Prize for Chamber Music.
He has participated in numerous international concerts with a contemporary music ensemble, a jazz band and other smaller ensembles. With his keen passion for celebrating and promoting African folk idioms, he is gradually leaving his mark on modern classical music as an exponent of African folk music.
He has deep respect for the works of renowned Ghanaian composers such as Prof. J.H Nketiah and Dr Ephraim Amu and has rearranged several compositions from the two for audiences across Europe and America.
Although Mr François is normally performs for audiences that are used to the works of musical icons such as Beethoven, he tries to incorporate works by great African composers into his performances, with the hope that gradually his audience would accept the use of African rhythmic patterns, melody, scales and forms.
The sense and direction of his compositions are influenced by living and being. According to him, his inspiration ranges from his own sense of African folk music to Christian music, “I am very eclectic in my taste; I play many different types of music quite apart from classical piano music.”
He doesn’t see working within a predominantly Western territory as a challenge but rather believes that the real challenge for him is to expand. He adds that the best way to expand his art form is to play with standards which can be compared with the best in any part of the world. This attitude has certainly paid off as he has won several competitions and played in some very important concert halls.
As a pianist he hopes to always play with excellence and keep on improving. He also hopes to run an annual international Festival of African Music to celebrate and promote African composers who use African Folk idioms. The Festival would provide a forum for African composers to have their works performed by world-class solo and chamber musicians in an environment that would give them exposure to the Western music market. He hopes the festival would kick off in November 2009.