Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is ranked among the elect of world pianists for his unrivalled blend of musicianship and virtuosity in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – in concert and on disc.
He begins the 2016/17 season with summer festival appearances at the Schubertiade, Verbier, Lofoton, Salzburg, and recitals at Tanglewood, Domaine Forget, Aspen, and La Jolla, where the La Jolla Music Society commissioned Hamelin to write a piano/cello sonata for himself and cellist Hai-Ye Ni.
Mr. Hamelin’s orchestral engagements this season include weeks with the Montreal (Ravel and Shostakovich with Nagano) and Minnesota (Vanska) orchestras; the Indianapolis Symphony in a reprise of the Haydn Cto. In D Major with Bernard Labadie, per their recent recording; the Bayerische Staatsorchester with Kirill Petrenko; the NDR Hanover, and the symphony orchestras in Gothenburg, Oregon, Bologna, Montpellier, and the Warsaw Philharmonic in repertoire including Brahms 1 and 2, Medtner 2, and Mozart K. 453. Recitals include those at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonic, The Gilmore Festival, the 92nd St Y in New York, and in Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto, et al. He also ventures to China for a set of recitals at the Shanghai Concert Hall.
Special events of 2016/17 include duo recitals with Leif Ove Andsnes at Wigmore Hall in London, in Rotterdam, Dublin, Italy, and in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, Beverly Hills, and at Symphony Center in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York. He tours with the Pacifica Quartet, playing the world premiere of his own string quintet, commissioned by the Segerstrom Center in Orange County, CA, and concludes the season as a juror at the Cliburn Piano Competition, for which he has been commissioned to write the obligatory solo work for the contestants.
Last season, Mr. Hamelin was a featured artist in solo recital on the Keyboard Virtuoso Series at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in January, and returned to Carnegie Hall for a performance of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and conductor Iván Fischer in February, part of a North American tour that also brought Mr. Hamelin and the BFO to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and Maison Symphonique in Montréal. Mr. Hamelin collaborated with the London Philharmonic and Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper (Liszt’s Totentanz and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody) and joined them again in London for performances and recordings of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Nikolai Medtner’s Piano Concerto No.2. Further orchestral highlights included Mr. Hamelin’s debut with the Filharmonica della Scala in Milan, and the British premiere performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto (which was written for Mr. Hamelin) with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. Mr. Hamelin also appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Quebec, San Diego, and Toronto Symphony orchestras, as well as the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Lucerne Symphony and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in repertoire ranging from Mozart to Brahms, Ravel and Messiaen.
Marc-André Hamelin is a frequent recitalist for Chicago Symphony Presents, the Cliburn, Spivey Hall, Montreal Pro Musica, Music Toronto, WPA in Washington, the Boston Celebrity Series and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Princeton University, San Francisco Performances, and in all the major concert halls in New York. Recitals in Europe include regular appearances at the Wigmore Hall in London, Munich, DeSingel in Antwerp, the Concertgebuow in Amsterdam, Moscow State Philharmonic Society, Perugia, the Heidelberg Festival and the Salzburg Mozarteum, as well as a recent three-concert residency at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.
He has appeared repeatedly with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. At the last of these, he played the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto (written for him) with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nezet-Seguin. In his 2014 debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in Haydn’s D Major Piano Concerto his playing was praised as “the very paragon of Classical purity, a fount of crisp, sparkling passages” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer, May 1, 2015).
In recognition of his remarkable discography, Mr. Hamelin was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in June 2015. Also awarded the 2006 lifetime achievement prize by the German Record Critic’s Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Mr. Hamelin has recorded some 70 CDs for the Hyperion label, most recently a double disc of Mozart Sonatas and two recordings with the Takács Quartet featuring the piano quintets by Shostakovich and Leo Ornstein. Further highlights of Mr. Hamelin’s recent discography include a CD devoted to Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Waldszenen and Janáček’s On the Overgrown Path, which was listed as CD of the Month in both Gramophone and BBC Music magazines. His recording of Busoni’s Late Piano Works received the 2014 Echo Award of “Instrumentalist of the Year (Piano)” and “Disc of the Year” by two leading French journals, Diapason and Classica. Mr. Hamelin’s discography ranges from the neglected masterpieces of Alkan, Ives, Medtner and Roslavets to brilliantly received performances of Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, and Debussy. A series of recordings of Haydn sonatas and concertos was particularly well-received, putting Mr. Hamelin on “the shortlist of most revelatory Haydn interpreters on record” (BBC Music Magazine, June 2015).
In 2010 Mr. Hamelin joined the ranks on CD of noted composer-pianists by releasing his own highly inventive “12 Etudes in all the minor keys” on the Hyperion label and with publication by Edition Peters. Mr. Hamelin has since performed his own compositions around the world, to great critical acclaim. His Pavane variée was commissioned for the ARD Music Competition in Munich, where it was the obligatory piece for the 2014 piano competition.
Winner of the 1985 Carnegie Hall Competition, Marc-André Hamelin was born in Montreal. He began to play the piano at the age of five, and by the age of nine had already won top prize in the Canadian Music Competition. Mr. Hamelin's father, a pharmacist by trade who was also a gifted amateur pianist, had introduced him to the works of Alkan, Medtner and Sorabji when he was still very young. Mr. Hamelin’s principal teachers included Gilles Hamelin, Yvonne Hubert, Harvey Wedeen and Russell Sherman; he studied at the École Vincent d'Indy in Montreal and then at Temple University in Philadelphia. An Officer of the Order of Canada since 2003 and a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec since 2004, Mr. Hamelin is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada and features prominently in the book The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight by Robert Rimm, published by Amadeus Press. Mr. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area.