Part of: Keyboard Virtuosos I
Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career. He was awarded the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2017 in recognition of a life devoted to the service of music.
The 2017–2018 season sees the start of Mr. Aimard’s three-year tenure as an artist-in-residence at London’s Southbank Centre. During the first year, he performs Messiaen with the Aurora Orchestra, Mozart with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Ravel with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He also curates an entire weekend dedicated to the music of Ligeti, with whom he had a long association. Other highlights include recitals in Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris, Vienna, and New York, and at Berlin’s new Pierre Boulez Saal. Orchestral performances include concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as a tour to Europe with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and a special Stockhausen project in Hamburg.
Mr. Aimard performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors who include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Eötvös, Sir Simon Rattle, and Vladimir Jurowski. He has been invited to curate, direct, and perform in a number of residencies at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Paris’s Cité de la musique, Mozarteum Salzburg, Southbank Centre, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Lucerne Festival. Mr. Aimard was the artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016; his final season was marked by a performance of Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux, with concerts programmed from dawn to midnight.
Mr. Aimard has collaborated closely with many leading composers, including György Kurtág, George Benjamin, Stockhausen, Carter, and Boulez. Recent seasons have included the world premieres of Harrison Birtwistle’s piano concerto Responses: Sweet Disorder and the Carefully Careless, as well as Carter’s last work, Epigrams, for piano, cello, and violin, which was written for Mr. Aimard. Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln and in concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Mr. Aimard sheds an inspiring and personal light on music of all periods.
Born in Lyon in 1957, Mr. Aimard studied at the Conservatoire de Paris 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 as Ensemble intercontemporain’s first solo pianist three years later.
Mr. Aimard was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2005 Instrumentalist Award, and was also honored with ECHO Klassik awards and a Grammy Award in 2005 for his recording of Ives’s songs and “Concord” Sonata. Mr. Aimard was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America in 2007, and was presented with the Honorary Prize from the German Record Critics’ Award Association in 2009. His recent recording of works by Benjamin and Tristan Murail with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra won the 2017 Gramophone Award in the contemporary category.
Mr. Aimard has made many highly successful recordings. His first Deutsche Grammophon release, Bach: The Art of Fugue, received both the Diapason d’Or and Choc du Monde de la Musique awards, debuted at number one on Billboard’s classical chart, and topped the iTunes classical album download chart. Mr. Aimard recently signed an exclusive contract with Pentatone records; his first recording with the label—the complete Catalogue d’oiseaux—is set for release this spring.