András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953 and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. Subsequently 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. Recitals and special cycles, i.e. the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók form an important part of his activities. In 2004, he performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in 20 cities throughout the United States and Europe, a project recorded live in the Zurich Tonhalle and released in eight volumes for ECM New Series.

This season, Mr. Schiff's limited North American engagements figure prominently around a typically varied series of performances in New York City. As curator of the 92nd Street Y's 2009-2010 In Focus series, he will explore "The Genius of Haydn" with an intense study of the composer during a one-week period. As part of this series, Mr. Schiff will give an all-Haydn solo recital, host a lecture demonstration from the keyboard, join cellist Miklos Perényi and violinist Yuuko Shiokawa for a program of Haydn's piano trios and combine talents with author Péter Esterházy for an evening of literature and music. Following his series at the 92nd Street Y, Mr. Schiff performs Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with Riccardo Muti and the New York Philharmonic and gives a Schumann and Mendelssohn recital for the organization between performances. Mr. Schiff will also play Schumann and Mendelssohn in recital at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall in Toronto.

András Schiff has worked with most of the major international orchestras and conductors, but now performs mainly as conductor and soloist. In 1999, Mr. Schiff created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians and close friends. In addition to working annually with this Orchestra, he also works every year with the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

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 "Hommage to Palladio" at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. From 2004 to 2007 he was Artist in Residence of the Kunstfest Weimar. In the 2007-2008 season he was Pianist in Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Mr. Schiff has established a prolific discography, including recordings for Teldec (1994-1997), London/Decca (1981-1994) and, since 1997, ECM New Series. Recordings for ECM include the complete solo piano music of Beethoven and Janácek, a solo disc of Schumann piano pieces and his second recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations. He has received several international recording awards, including two Grammy Awards for "Best Classical Instrumental Soloist (Without Orchestra)" for the Bach English Suites, and "Best Vocal Recording" for Schubert's Schwanengesang with tenor Peter Schreier, and, for the 49th annual Grammy Awards, was nominated for "Best Classical Album (Without Orchestra)" for the second volume of his Complete Beethoven Sontata recordings for ECM. Additionally, Mr. Schiff will release a disc of Bach Partitas in Fall 2009.

András Schiff has been awarded numerous international prizes, most recently being the June 2009 Klavier-Festival Ruhr Prize for outstanding pianistic achievements and to honour a lifetime's work as a pianist. In 2006 he became an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven's works; in 2007 he received the renowned Italian prize, the "Premio della critica musicale Franco Abbiati" awarded for his Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle; in 2007 he was presented with The Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize, sponsored by the Kohn Foundation - an annual award for someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the performance and/or scholarly study of Johann Sebastian Bach; in 2008, he was given the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at Wigmore Hall.

In 2006, András Schiff and the music publisher G Henle began an important Mozart edition project. In the course of the next few years there will be 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 addition, in 2007 both volumes of Bach's "Well Tempered Klavier" were edited in the Henle original text with fingerings by Mr Schiff.

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). In 2001, Mr. Schiff became a British citizen; he resides in Florence and London and is married to the violinist Yuuko Shiokawa.
This biography was most recently edited by...
steven - 19 Feb 2010