French pianist who brought out an album aged 109 dies

Colette Maze had been perfecting her skills for over a century

Colette Maze released an album about her favourite composer Debussy in 2018
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French pianist Colette Maze, who amazed many by bringing out her seventh album in June at the age of 109, died at her home in Paris on Sunday (November 19).

Born a month before the start of World War One and nearly four years before the death of one of her favourite composers, Claude Debussy, the centenarian was still playing her Steinway piano for four hours a day.

Earlier this year she released her latest album, ‘109 Years of Piano’, performing works by Gershwin, Piazzolla, Schumann and Debussy.

Read more: Video: Frenchwoman and world’s oldest pianist to release her 7th album

A religious ceremony to celebrate her life will take place on November 28 at the Saint-Roch church in Paris, her family shared on Facebook.

Performing until the end

In May, Ms Maze performed classics in front of an audience of 500 people at the Château du Clos Vougeot (Côte d'Or).

The oldest pianist in the world showed off her skills, by playing classics in the chateau surrounded by Burgundy vineyards.

One member of the audience said: “You can tell that she has a century of piano practice in her hands.”

During the evening, the musician was also inducted into the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin - an exclusive fraternity of Burgundy wine connoisseurs.

A social media star

Ms Maze began playing the piano before the age of five and by the age of 15, she joined the École normale de musique in Paris, where she studied with the famous Alfred Cortot and Nadia Boulanger.

She taught for decades at the École normale de musique and the Conservatoire de Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine) and was the custodian of the Cortot method, based on exercises to relax all the muscles.

More recently, she has become a celebrity of social media with more than 12,000 followers on Facebook alone.

Last year, popular music YouTube channel Thomann Music recorded an interview with Ms Maze which has more than 120,000 views. It includes more on her long life as a pianist, her philosophy on life, and excerpts of her playing.

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