Performance Thursday, November 15, 2012 | 8 PM

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Debussy’s Preludes reveal the composer’s genius at creating images in sound: Each of the pieces reveals a different color, an individual mood. With a “knack for illuminating connections among the works he plays” (The New York Times), Pierre-Laurent Aimard brings selections from Debussy’s masterful miniatures to Carnegie Hall, along with music by Heinz Holliger and Schumann’s fiendishly difficult Symphonic Etudes.


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano


  • DEBUSSY Preludes, Book II
  • HEINZ HOLLIGER Elis (Three Night Pieces)
  • SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (with posthumous etudes)

  • Encore:
  • CARTER "Fratribute" from Tri-Tribute


  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard

    Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career. He performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors who include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Peter Eötvös, and Sir Simon Rattle. He has been invited to create, direct, and perform in a number of residencies, including recent projects at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Berliner Philharmonie, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Southbank Centre; as well as with the Lucerne and Tanglewood festivals. Mr. Aimard is also the artistic director of the prestigious Aldeburgh Festival.

    Highlights of the 2012-2013 season include solo recitals in London, New York, Chicago, Paris, and Tokyo. Mr. Aimard will make concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and Budapest Festival Orchestra with Osmo Vänskä. He also regularly directs concertos from the keyboard with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

    Mr. Aimard has had close collaborations with many leading composers, including György Kurtág, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, and George Benjamin. For more than 15 years, he collaborated closely with György Ligeti, recording his complete works for piano. Most recently, he performed the world premiere of Tristan Murail's piano concerto.

    Through professorships at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and Paris Conservatoire, as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Mr. Aimard sheds an inspiring and personal light on music of all periods. In 2009, he was invited to give a series of classes and seminars at the Collège de France in Paris.

    Born in Lyon, France, in 1957, Mr. Aimard studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio. Early career landmarks include winning first prize in the 1973 Messiaen Competition at the age of 16 and being appointed three years later by Pierre Boulez to become the Ensemble intercontemporain's first solo pianist.

    Mr. Aimard now records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. His first DG release, Bach's Art of Fugue, received both the Diapason d'Or and Choc du Monde de la Musique awards, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's classical chart, and topped iTunes's classical album download chart. In recent years, Mr. Aimard has been honored with ECHO Klassik awards, most recently in 2009 for his recording of solo piano pieces, Hommage à Messiaen. That same year, he was also presented with Germany's Schallplattenkritik Honorary Prize. His Ives: Concord Sonata / Songs recording received a Grammy Award in 2005. The Liszt Project-his highly successful 2011 release that featured the music of Liszt, Berg, Bartók, Ravel, Scriabin, and Messiaen-was followed by a recording of Debussy's Préludes   in 2012, the composer's 150th anniversary year.

    More Info


Schumann's Etudes Symphoniques, Op.13, XVIII Etude 12 - Finale
Pierre-Lauent Aimard, Piano
Warner Classics

At a Glance


Debussy and his revolutionary style of piano writing were well established in the public mind by the time his two sets of preludes appeared between 1910 and 1913. The dozen pieces in Book II illustrate the full range of Debussy's approach to the keyboard—from the misty, opalescent textures of "Brouillards"  and "La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune" to the sultry exoticism of "La puerta del vino"  and kaleidoscopic brilliance of "Feux d'artifice."

HEINZ HOLLIGER  Elis (Three Night Pieces)

A one-time pupil of Pierre Boulez, Swiss oboist-composer Heinz Holliger has refined the rigorously organized musical language of post-World War II modernism and adapted it to new expressive purposes. Elis (Three Night Pieces), based on poems by Austrian expressionist Georg Trakl, weds the spare, aphoristic style of Anton Webern to the luminous "night music" of Béla Bartók.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (with posthumous etudes)

Like most of Schumann's solo piano works of the 1830s, the Symphonic Etudes contrast the personalities of Schumann's fictitious alter egos: the stormy, impulsive Florestan and the dreamy, ruminative Eusebius. Although the composer was engaged to Clara Wieck when the work came to fruition in 1837, the inception of Op. 13 memorializes his first love, a young pianist named Ernestine von Fricken, whose father wrote the theme on which the etude-variations are based.

Program Notes
$10 student rush tickets are available in the parquet, dress circle, center balcony, and balcony sections.
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.