“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 in modern day Lvov, Poland, 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.
Highlights of the 2019/20 season included a European summer festivals tour with the Vienna Philharmonic and long-time collaborative partner Bernard Haitink, an Asian tour with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle, US concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lahav Shani, in addition to three concerts with regular partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall in March 2020.
Additional recitals and orchestral appearances last spring were postponed due to Covid-19 and like many artists around the world, Mr. Ax responded to these unprecedented circumstances creatively. He hosted “The Legacy of Great Pianists,” part of the online Live with Carnegie Hall highlighting legendary pianists who have performed at Carnegie Hall. Last September, he joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a series of surprise pop-up concerts for essential workers in multiple venues throughout the Berkshires community.
With orchestra he can be heard in Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal and Philadelphia. In Europe he can be heard with orchestras in London, Frankfurt and Rotterdam.
Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, his most recent being Brahms Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos. 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, Yale University, and Columbia University.