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MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN
piano

“Perhaps the most elegant and least ostentatious of virtuosos, Mr. Hamelin produces prodigies of sound seemingly without effort or concern.”


--James Oestreich, New York Times

 

 
MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN

Photo by Fran Kaufman

 

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is now 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.

This summer Mr. Hamelin appeared at the Schubertiade, Verbier, Lofton, and Salzburg festivals plus recitals at Tanglewood, Domaine Forget, Aspen, and La Jolla, where he performed his new piano/cello sonata, commissioned by the La Jolla Music Society, with cellist Hai-Ye Ni. Mr. Hamelin’s 2016-2017 orchestral engagements include performances with the Montreal Symphony under Kent Nagano, the Minnesota Orchestra with Osmo Vanska, the Indianapolis Symphony in a reprise of the Haydn Piano concerto in D Major with Bernard Labadie (which they recently recorded together), and performances with the Bayerische Staatsorchester with Kiril Petrenko, and NDR Hanover, and the symphony orchestras in Gothenburg, Oregon, Bologna, Montpellier, and the Warsaw Philhamonic in repertoire including Brahms 1 and 2, Medtner 2, and Mozart K. 453.

In recital, Mr. Hamelin performs in New York at the 92nd Street Y, at the Gilmore Festival, in Cleveland, Toronto, for Chicago Symphony Presents, the Van Cliburn, Spivey Hall, ProMusica Montreal, Music Toronto, and the Green Center in Sonoma. European recitals include Munich, DeSingel in Antwerp, Moscow State Philharmonic Society, Perugia, Heidelberg Festival, Bilbao, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Salzburg Mozarteum, as well as a three-concert residency at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, featuring two solo recitals and a concert with the ASKO/Schönberg Ensemble. Mr. Hamelin will also travel 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, Beverly Hills and at Symphony Center in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall in New York.  Mr. Hamelin also tours with the Pacifica Quartet, performing the world premiere of his own string quintet.  Hamelin concludes the season as juror at the Van Cliburn Piano Competition in Fort Worth for which he was commissioned to write the obligatory solo work for the competition’s contestants. 

Last season, Mr. Hamelin was a featured artist in solo recital on the coveted Keyboard Virtuoso Series at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in January 2016. He 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 2016, 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, performing with them on tour at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper in September 2015 (Liszt’s Totentanz and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody) and joining them again in March 2016 for performances and recordings of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Nikolai Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in London and Eastbourne. 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) who gave with the work’s world premiere in Manchester.

The 2014-15 season saw Mr. Hamelin touring across the United States and Europe, including recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Moscow International Performing Arts Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Princeton University, and Koerner Hall in Toronto. After his February 21, 2015 recital at New York’s  92nd Street Y, which featured the New York premiere of Mr. Hamelin’s own work Chaconne, he was praised by David Allen of The New York Times (February 22, 2015) as the “emperor of the keyboard,” known for his “lordly refinement” and “startling power” and  the “silken gloss and impossibly pellucid touch” of his playing.” In his review of Mr. Hamelin’s December 2014 Munich recital, Klaus P. Richter in the Süddeutsche Zeitung termed Hamelin’s interpretation of Schubert’s great B-flat major Sonata D. 960 “a Schubert event of tremendous poignancy” and a “magical psychological drama.”

Last summer, Mr. Hamelin joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Ravel’s Left Hand Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms and repeated the same work at the Colorado Music Festival. Mr. Hamelin collaborated with distinguished colleagues at the Montreal and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals; he also performed solo recitals at both festivals, as well as at the International Keyboard institute and Festival in New York City, Cheltenham Festival (UK), Klavierfestival Ruhr, Klavierfestival Berlin, Rockport Music Festival, and Festival Cully Classique in Switzerland.

Highlights of Mr. Hamelin’s solo performances with orchestra in 2014/15 included performances of both Brahms Concertos with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; a birthday concert for Michael Tilson Thomas with the San Francisco Symphony, where his fellow guests included Emmanuel Ax, Yuja Wang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Jeremy Denk; and the American premiere performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra (which was written for Mr. Hamelin). For his debut performances with the Cleveland Orchestra with Haydn’s D-Major Piano Concerto in April and May, Mr. Hamelin’s playing was praised as “the very paragon of Classical purity, a fount of crisp, sparkling passages” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer, May 1, 2015). Further orchestral engagements included performances with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino (Italy), the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National Bordeaux (France), Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit (UK), and the Seattle Symphony. In March 2015, Mr. Hamelin joined Les Violons du Roy for a concert tour through Canada and the US; he has also performed Franck’s Quintet in F minor with the Takács Quartet in California and the United Kingdom.

After his June 2015 performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony, James Oestreich wrote in The New York Times:

Mr. Hamelin continues his triumphant march through the standard repertory… The “Emperor” Concerto, for all its musical substance, offers ample scope for virtuosity, and Mr. Hamelin showed his usual easy command in a reading as notable for its exquisite pianissimos and beautifully shaped phrases as for its Beethovenian bluster.     – June 8, 2015

In recognition of his remarkable discography, Mr. Hamelin was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in June 2015. Earlier he was he  was 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. His recording of John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music, with the composer conducting fellow pianist Orli Shaham, Synergy Vocals, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, was released in August 2014 on SFS Media. 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. After a recent performance in Hamburg, reviewer Marcus Stäbler wrote in the Hamburger Abendblatt:

The highlight of this celebrated solo recital, however, was the second half with Hamelin’s own works, in which he showed his sense of color and his formidable precision doubly  - for example in the ravishing "Pavane variée" from 2014, which varies a simple Renaissance love song, lacing it with wildly glittering arpeggios and bathing it in harmonies of sensual luminosity. Hamelin not only plays faster than his own shadow, he can also tenderly caress the keys and tease sweet melodies out of the piano. Pianism in perfection.     - June 28, 2015

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 keen 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.