Emile Naoumoff has been likened to both Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein as a pianist, displaying — as one critic remarked — the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. He was also signed as a composer at age 18 — the youngest on their roster — with the music publisher Schott, Mainz. Emile revealed himself as a musical prodigy at age five, taking up the piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. At the age of seven, after a fateful meeting in Paris, he became the last disciple of Nadia Boulanger, who referred to him as “The gift of my old age”. He studied with her until her death in late 1979. During this auspicious apprenticeship, Mlle. Boulanger gave him the opportunity to work with Clifford Curzon, Igor Markevitch, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Jean Francaix, Leonard Bernstein, Soulima Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian and Yehudi Menhuin. Lord Menhuin conducted the premiere of Emile’s first piano concerto, with the composer as a soloist when he was ten years old. At the same time, he pursued studies at the Paris Conservatory with Lelia Gousseau, Pierre Sancan, Genevieve Joy-Dutilleux, as well as at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with Pierre Dervaux (conducting).
Upon the death of Mlle. Boulanger, Emile took over her classes at the summer sessions of the Conservatoire d’Art Americain in Fontainebleau. He was later appointed at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris.
Emile is regularly invited by the world’s premier orchestras: the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony in Washington, Moscow Symphony, NHK Symphony, the Residentie Orkest of the Hague, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Camerata Bern, and has worked closely with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Igor Markevitch, Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Eliahu Inbal. He has also collaborated with musicians including Jean-Pierre Rampal, Gerard Souzay, Yo-Yo Ma, Gary Hoffman, Olivier Charlier, Patrice Fontanarosa, Regis Pasquier, Philippe Graffin, Philippe Bernold, Gerard Caussé, Jean Ferrandis, Dominique de Williencourt and the Fine Arts Quartet.
Some highlights of his performing career include a performance of the Grieg Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and his own piano concerto version of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. In recent years Emile has been invited to numerous music festivals such as San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music’s Menuhin Seminars, Santander Summer Masterclasses, Verbier Academy Festival, the Banff Center, and residencies at Conservatory of Barcelona (ESMUC). In 1996, he opened his own summer academy at the Château de Rangiport in Gargenville, France, in the spirit of Nadia Boulanger.
Since 1998, Emile is a professor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is an avid composer of French mélodies, and is known for his mastery in transcribing music for the piano. Emile maintains a video journal of daily improvisations on his YouTube channel.