“Ax’s playing is always marvelously articulate and totally unfussy. Nothing is done for effect or to draw attention to the player rather than to what he is playing; though his range of touch and keyboard colour is consummately wide, it is never used cosmetically. “
“His greatness, his overwhelming authority as musician, technician and probing intellect emerges quickly as he plays. Within minutes, we are totally captured by his intensity and pianistic achievement.”
Los Angeles Times
“Mr Ax…played with youthful brio, incisive rhythm, bountiful imagination, delicacy when called for and thundering power when the piano fought back.”
The New York Times
“Ax is an extremely satisfying pianist; he is at home in a wide variety of music and his pianism is always thoughtful, lyrical, lustrous.”
The Washington Post
Born to Polish parents in what is today Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize.
The 2023/24 season will focus on the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s piano concerto, commissioned for him by the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen with subsequent performances in Stockhom and New York. A continuation of the ‘Beethoven For 3’ touring and recording project with partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma will take them to the mid-west in January. In recital Mr. Ax can be heard on the west coast in the fall and mid-west/east coast in the spring, culminating at Carnegie Hall in April. An extensive European tour will include concerts in Holland, Italy, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.
Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987 and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched an ambitious, multi-year project to record all the Beethoven Trios and Symphonies arranged for trio of which the first two discs have recently been released. He has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax’s recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th Century Music/Piano).
Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Columbia University.