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Emanuel Ax

Emanuel Ax headshot


Born to Polish parents in what is today Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada with his family when he was a young boy. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. His 2023-24 season focused on the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Piano Concerto, commissioned for him by the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen with subsequent performances in Stockhom and New York. A continuation of the Beethoven For Three touring and recording project with partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma took them to the Midwest in January. In recital, Ax performed on the West Coast in the fall and in the Midwest and on the East Coast in the spring, culminating at Carnegie Hall in April. An extensive European tour included concerts in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic.

Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987 and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched an ambitious, multi-year project to record all the Beethoven trios and symphonies arranged for trio, of which the first two discs have recently been released. 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 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, Ax’s album Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for solo recording of the year for 19th century music on piano. Ax is a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Columbia University.

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