Sir András Schiff
Sir 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 studies at the Franz Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and later in London with George Malcolm.
Recitals and special cycles, including the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas worldwide, and the cycle given in the Tonhalle Zurich was recorded live for ECM Records.
An exclusive ECM recording artist, he has released recordings of works by Schubert, Schumann, Janáček, Beethoven, and Bach which have been received with the highest critical acclaim. His 2016 disc Encores after Beethoven features a collection of encores performed at the end of his Beethoven cycle programs. His newest recording, released in October, includes sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven with violinist Yuuko Shiokawa.
Sir András has worked with most major international orchestras and conductors, but in recent years has performed mainly as a conductor and soloist. In 1999, he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians, and friends. In addition to international tours with this orchestra, he works with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
He appears as conductor and soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony this season, in addition to over a dozen recitals in two North American visits. His other concert performances bring him to Europe, Australia, Japan, China, and South America. His projects and cycles can be heard in musical centers around the world.
Since childhood he has enjoyed playing chamber music and from 1989 to 1998 was Artistic Director of the highly 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, Sir András started a similar series, entitled “Homage to Palladio” at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. He has been Pianist in Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic, a Perspectives Artist at Carnegie Hall, and Pianist in Residence of the Kunstfest Weimar.
Sir András has been awarded numerous international prizes. In 2006 he became an honorary member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven’s works; in 2008 he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at Wigmore Hall; in 2009 he was made a Special Supernumerary Fellow of Balliol College (Oxford, U.K.); in 2011 he received the Schumann Prize, the Golden Mozart-Medaille by the International Stiftung Mozarteum, the Order pour le merite for Sciences and Arts, the Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and was made an honorary member of the Vienna Konzerthaus; in 2013 he was given the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal; in 2014, and he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa by the University of Leeds and was bestowed a knighthood for services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In the spring of 2011, Sir András attracted attention because of his opposition to the alarming political development in Hungary and in view of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian nationalists, he decided not to perform again in his home country.
Sir András Schiff’s book, Musik kommt aus der Stille (essays and conversations with Martin Meyer), was published in March 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel.