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, aged 19, to become the Ensemble intercontemporain´s first solo pianist. Praised by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around” Aimard has had a close association to the composer himself and with Yvonne Loriod, with whom he studied at the Paris Conservatoire.
In the 2021/22 season he continues to tour internationally working closely with leading orchestras and conductors including Münchner Philharmoniker/Nagano, Philharmonia Orchestra/Heras-Casado, hr-Sinfonieorchester/Altinoglu, Wiener Symphoniker/Afkham and San Francisco Symphony/Salonen with whom he will record Bartók’s Piano Concertos Nos.1&3.
In recital and chamber projects, Aimard remains committed to championing contemporary composers, performing works this season by Klaus Ospald and Mark Andre. He will also give performances of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and collaborate with leading instrumentalists Mark Simpson and Jean-Guihen Queyras for trio recitals including 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 in recognition of a life devoted to the service of music. That was no truer than in the 2020/21 season when Aimard created a unique and personal take on Beethoven’s legacy in a recital programme called ‘Beethoven the Avant-gardist’ developed in response to the composer’s 250th anniversary year. The juxtaposition of Viennese classics with compositions of the avant-garde revealed surprising cross-references, with Zachary Woolfe in the NY Times commenting “ [Mr Aimard’s] overarching agenda came through with clarity, attesting to the strength of his vision and the savvy of his juxtapositions.” Other highlights of the season included recitals in Paris for 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.
Having recently released a new disc of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Eroica Variations for Pentatone to great critical acclaim, Aimard is also 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 opus magnum Catalogue d’oiseaux for Pentatone, which was honoured with multiple awards including the prestigious German music critic’s award “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.” Aimard has also performed the world premieres of piano works by Kurtág at Teatro alla Scala; Carter’s last piece Epigrams, which was written for him; Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s works Responses; Sweet disorder and the carefully careless and Keyboard Engine for two pianos which received its London premiere in autumn 2019.
An innovative curator and uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Aimard has been invited to direct and perform in a number of residencies including most recently for Musikkollegium Winterthur where over the season he celebrated a number of different composers and opened with the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos. Elsewhere, he has performed ground-breaking 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, the Edinburgh Festival, and was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016.
Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Aimard sheds an inspiring light on music of all periods. He was previously an Associate Professor at the College de France, Paris and is a member of Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste. He will take up the position as Head of New Music at the Reina Sofía School, Madrid in autumn 2021. In spring 2020, he re-launched a major online resource Explore the Score, after several years work, which centres on the performance and teaching of Ligeti’s piano music in collaboration with the Klavier-Festival Ruhr.