Meet The Performers

Visiting Artist - Piano and Percussion - Piano

Garrick Ohlsson


Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him.

The 2013-14 season included recitals in Montreal, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Kansas City, culminating in February in Carnegie Hall with a program including Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and excerpts from his recent recording of works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. In January, with the Boston Symphony, he will present the world premier of a concerto commissioned for him from Justin Dello Joio, as well as return visits to the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Cleveland. Performances outside North America include Stockholm (Sweden), São Paolo (Brazil), and Hong Kong (China), in addition to a Dvorák project with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer. 

The 2012-13 season included performances of Busoni’s rarely programmed piano concerto with the European Union Youth Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, including an appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival, two concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and a month-long tour in Australia, where he recorded, in performance, both Brahms concerti and Tchaikovsky's second piano concerto. Concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst were reprised during the orchestra’s winter residency in Florida. Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, conducted by Sir Mark Elder with the Chicago Symphony was followed by a Kennedy Center appearance with the Iceland Symphony as part of the center’s Nordic Festival, and an east coast tour with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Ohlsson returned to Carnegie Hall in the spring as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Other U.S. appearances included return visits to the orchestras of Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston, and Baltimore. 

In acknowledgement of the bicentenary of Franz Liszt’s birth, the 2011-12 season included Liszt recitals in Chicago, Hong Kong, London, and New York, where Mr. Ohlsson also visited Carnegie Hall with the Atlanta Symphony and Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. Tours in Europe and Asia included concerts in France, England, Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. 

A season earlier, in recognition of the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth, Mr. Ohlsson presented a series of all-Chopin recitals in Seattle, Berkeley and La Jolla, culminating at Lincoln Center in the fall and winter of 2010. In autumn of that year he was featured in a documentary, “The Art of Chopin,” co-produced by Polish, French, British and Chinese television stations, followed one year later by a DVD of the two Chopin concerti. In the summer of 2010 he appeared in all-Chopin programs at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals, as well as appearances in Taipei, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney. 

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takács and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. Together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. Passionate about singing and singers, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared in recital with such legendary artists as Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Ewa Podles. 

Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, and Virgin Classics labels. His ten-disc set of the complete Beethoven sonatas, for Bridge Records, has garnered critical acclaim, including a GRAMMY® for Vol. 3. His recording of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3, with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano, was released in 2011. In the fall of 2008 the English label Hyperion re-released his 16-disc set of the complete works of Chopin. Hyperion recently released a disc of all the Brahms piano variations and “Goyescas,” by Enrique Granados, and music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. The latest CDs in his ongoing association with Bridge Records are “Close Connections,” a recital of 20th-Century pieces, and two CDs of  works by Liszt. 

A native of White Plains, N.Y., Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School, in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévinne and Irma Wolpe. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montréal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal (and remains the single American to have done so), that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Since then he has made nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he retains immense personal popularity. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, MI. He makes his home in San Francisco.


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