Pierre-Laurent Aimard is widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and has had close collaborations with many leading composers, including György Ligeti, whose complete works for piano he has recorded.
He has also worked with Stockhausen, George Benjamin and Pierre Boulez, who appointed Aimard at age 19 to become the Ensemble intercontemporain’s first solo pianist. Praised by the Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around,” Aimard had a close association to the composer himself and with Yvonne Loriod, with whom he studied at the Paris Conservatoire.
In 2021-22, he continued to work with leading orchestras and conductors including Munich Philharmonic with Kent Nagano, Philharmonia Orchestra with Pablo Heras-Casado, hr-Sinfonieorchester with Alain Altinoglu, Vienna Symphony with David Afkham and San Francisco Symphony under Esa-Pekka Salonen with whom he recorded Bartók’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3.
In recital and chamber projects, Aimard remains committed to championing contemporary composers, performing works by Klaus Ospald and Mark Andre. He gave performances of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam and collaborated with leading instrumentalists Mark Simpson and Jean-Guihen Queyras for trio recitals featuring works by Lachenmann at the Auditorio Nacional de Música and Elbphilharmonie.
Deemed an “extraordinary visionary” by the Washington Post and a pioneer artist renowned for his revelatory insights, Aimard was awarded the prestigious 2017 International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for a life devoted to the service of music. That was no truer than in 2020-21 when Aimard created a personal take on Beethoven’s legacy in a recital program called “Beethoven the Avant-Gardist,” developed for the composer’s 250th anniversary year. Other highlights of the season included recitals in Paris of Bach’s Well-Tempered Klavier, appearances at Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen for Birtwistle’s Keyboard Engine for two pianos and the BBC Proms for Ravel’s Concerto in G Major, alongside Sir George Benjamin and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Aimard is due to release a new recording of Visions de l’Amen with Tamara Stefanovich in 2022. Recent seasons have also included the release of Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux for Pentatone, which was honored with multiple awards including the German award Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Aimard has also performed the world premieres of piano works by György Kurtág at Teatro alla Scala; Elliot Carter’s last piece Epigrams, which was written for him; Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s works Responses, Sweet Disorder and Keyboard Engine, which received its London premiere in 2019.
An innovative curator and interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Aimard has been invited to direct and perform in residencies, including most recently for Musikkollegium Winterthur, where over the season, he opened with the complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos. Elsewhere, he has performed groundbreaking projects at Porto’s Casa da Musica, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Vienna, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Tanglewood Festival, Edinburgh Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival, where he was artistic director from 2009 to 2016.
Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Aimard illuminates music of all periods. He was previously an associate professor at the College de France in Paris and is a member of Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste. In 2021, he became head of new music at the Reina Sofía School in Madrid. In 2020, he relaunched a major online resource Explore the Score, which centers on the performance and teaching of Ligeti’s piano music in collaboration with the Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.