András Schiff is world-renowned and critically acclaimed as a pianist, conductor, pedagogue and lecturer. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1953, Mr. Schiff started piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his musical studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm.
Recognized for touring the globe with large-scale and concentrated studies of the major keyboard works, András Schiff’s special recitals of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók form an important part of every concert season. In 2004 he embarked on an astonishing journey of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas and to date has performed the complete cycle in 20 cities. The Beethoven cycle was recorded live for ECM in the Zurich Tonhalle and released in eight volumes.
Indisputably one of the most prominent proponents of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Mr. Schiff has long proclaimed that Bach stands at the core of his music making. In October 2012, April 2013 and October 2013 András Schiff will embark on The Bach Project in North America, comprising six Bach recitals and a week of orchestral music of Bach, Schumann and Mendelssohn with Mr. Schiff at the piano and on the podium. The complete Project will visit Symphony Hall supported by the San Francisco Symphony, Disney Hall, supported by the LA Phil and New York City in partnership between the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, 92Y and Great Performers at Lincoln Center. Individual recitals will be presented in Vancouver, Seattle, Washington, DC, Chicago, Santa Barbara, Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, Boston and Toronto.
Mr. Schiff’s relationship with the music of J.S. Bach is well established. Of his intelligent and educational performances, The New York Times states, "There is nothing more reliable in the world of classical music today than András Schiff playing Bach." In 2006 Mr. Schiff and the music publisher G Henle began collaborating on Mozart and Bach editions. To date both volumes of The Well-Tempered Clavier have been edited in the Henle original text with fingerings by Schiff. In 2007 he was presented with The Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize – an annual award to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the performance or scholarly study of Johann Sebastian Bach. His recording of The Well-Tempered Clavier for ECM, released in September 2012, is expected to be one of the pre-eminent performances of the work.
Mr. Schiff has established a prolific discography, and since 1997 has been an exclusive artist for ECM New Series and its producer, Manfred Eicher. Recordings for ECM include the complete solo piano music of Beethoven and Janácek, two solo discs of Schumann piano pieces as well as his second recordings of the Bach Partitas and Goldberg Variations. He is recording Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations for release in autumn 2013.
András Schiff has worked with most of the major international orchestras and conductors, but now he performs mainly as conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians and friends. In addition to working annually with this orchestra, he also works every year with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
During the 2011-2012 Season, András Schiff was named one of its prestigious Perspectives artists by Carnegie Hall where he programmed twelve concerts using all three halls and which focused on Béla Bartók and the vibrant legacy the composer left on their native Hungary. Unique to the series were the many colleagues who joined Mr. Schiff – most of whom he has known since childhood.
Since childhood he has enjoyed playing chamber music and from 1989 until 1998 was Artistic Director of the internationally praised "Musiktage Mondsee" chamber music festival near Salzburg. In 1995, together with Heinz Holliger, he founded the "Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte" in Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland. In 1998 Mr Schiff started a similar series, entitled "Homage to Palladio" at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. From 2004 to 2007 he was Artist in Residence of the Kunstfest Weimar. In the 2007-8 season he was Pianist in Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic.
András Schiff has been awarded numerous prizes, the most recent being the Golden Mozart-Medaille by the International Stiftung Mozarteum. In 2006 he became an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven’s works. Other recent awards include, in 2007 the renowned Italian prize, the “Premio della critica musicale Franco Abbiati” awarded for his Beethoven piano sonata cycle; in 2008 the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at Wigmore Hall; in 2009 the Klavier-Festival Ruhr Prize for outstanding pianistic achievements and to honour a lifetime’s work as a pianist; in 2011 the Schumann Prize awarded by the city of Zwickau. Mr. Schiff’s relationship with G Henle continues over the next few years with a joint edition of Mozart’s piano concertos in their original version to which Mr Schiff is contributing to the piano parts, the fingerings and the cadenzas where the original cadenzas are missing.
In the spring of 2011 Mr Schiff attracted attention because of his opposition to the latest Hungarian media law, and in view of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian nationalists, has made the decision not to perform or return to his native country.
András Schiff has been made an Honorary Professor by the Music Schools in Budapest, Detmold and Munich, and a Special Supernumerary Fellow of Balliol College (Oxford, UK).
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