Born in Lyon in 1957, Pierre-Laurent Aimard studied at the Conservatoire de Paris with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio. Early career landmarks included winning first prize in the 1973 Olivier Messiaen Competition at the age of sixteen and being appointed, three years later, by Pierre Boulez to become the Ensemble intercontemporain’s first solo pianist.
Aimard performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors including 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, with projects at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Lucerne Festival, the Mozarteum Salzburg, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Tanglewood Festival and London’s Southbank Centre. 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 the concerts programmed from dawn to midnight.
Aimard has had close collaborations with many leading composers including Kurtág, Stockhausen, Carter, Boulez and George Benjamin. 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 piece Epigrams for piano, cello and violin, which was written for Pierre-Laurent. Through his professorship at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, he sheds an inspiring and very personal light on music from all periods.
During the 2008–09 season Aimard was an associate professor at the College de France (Paris). He is a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste (since 2012). He was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award in 2005 and was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America in 2007. In 2015, in collaboration with the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, he launched a major online resource Explore the Score centred on the performance and teaching of music works by Ligeti, Bartók, Boulez and Stravinsky.
Pierre-Laurent has made many highly successful recordings. His Deutsche Grammophon release, Bach’s The 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’ classical album download chart. In recent years Pierre-Laurent has been honoured with ECHO KLASSIK awards, most recently in 2009 for his recording of solo piano pieces, Hommage à Messiaen, a GRAMMY award in 2005 for his recording of Ives’ Concord Sonata and Songs, and he was also presented with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik in 2009. Other releases for Deutsche Grammophon – The Liszt Project in 2011 and Debussy Préludes in 2012 – were joined by a new recording of Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (Teil 1) in 2014. He has now signed an exclusive contract with PENTATONE, his first recording – the complete Catalogue d’oiseaux – released in 2018.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard was awarded the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2017.
His 2020 worldwide programme focus was based on “Beethoven the Avant-gardist”. The programme was first presented in a series of recitals at the end of 2019 and continued to the end of 2020, concluding with a live streamed recital for the Gilmore Keyboard Festival.
In 2021 Pierre-Laurent continues his residency as Artist in Resonance with the Musikkollegium Winterthur and celebrates a number of composers, including Beethoven as well as performing the full cycle of piano concerti over a series of concerts. He continues to tour internationally giving recitals at venues including the Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), the Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, the Philharmonie de Paris and the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Concerto appearances include concerts with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, the SWR Symphonieorchester, the Philharmonie de Luxembourg and the Orchestra i Pomeriggi Musicali to name a few.
Information for May 2021