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Sergio Tiempo

Sergio Tiempo headshot


Pianist Sergio Tiempo is renowned for his audacious and nuanced interpretations and for the depth of understanding he brings to his repertoire, from Brahms to Villa-Lobos, from Beethoven to Ginastera. From a “sound [so big] you might have thought his piano was amplified” (Philadelphia Explorer) to “a seductive pianissimo” (Berliner Morgenpost) and “whispering phrases” (New York Classical Review), both “sparkling and crystalline” as well as “percussive” (Frankfurter Rundschau), he uses the full spectrum of expression to let the listener in on what he sees in a piece of music. It is easy to set Tiempo’s interpretations apart from any other and the results are “scintillating” (New York Times) performances, presented with incredible stage presence and charisma, and rendering the universally acknowledged virtuosity of his playing (NYT, FAZ, Limelight, …) almost an afterthought.

A career that started more than 35 years ago, when Tiempo made his professional debut at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw at the age of 14, has seen him perform with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and Berliner Philharmoniker in the past five years alone.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Tiempo began his piano studies with his mother, Lyl Tiempo. He pays tribute to her, and some of his closest musical relations, influences and teachers, in his new album Hommage (released in September 2023). Among them are also his sister and regular recital partner Karin Lechner; Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire; Alan Weiss; and Mischa Maisky, who, aside from his sister Karin, became Tiempo’s first chamber music partner and with whom he recorded several discs for Deutsche Grammophon. Other recordings have included Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit and three Chopin Nocturnes for Martha Argerich Presents on EMI, as well as his disc ‘Legacy’, released on Avanti in January 2018. Shaped by this rich environment of musical minds, Tiempo went on to Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Como, Italy, where he worked with Dimitri Bashkirov, Fou Tsong, Murray Perahia and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

He has performed with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Marin Alsop, Myung Whun Chung, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Thierry Fischer, Emmanuel Krivine, Ken-David Masur, Ludovic Morlot, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Alondra de la Parra, Rafael Payare, Alexander Prior, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Xian Zhang, and, maybe most of all, with his fellow countryman and friend Gustavo Dudamel. With him, notable performances include the world premiere of Esteban Benzecry’s new piano concerto Universos Infinitos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, followed by performances of the work at the Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic. Among their many shared performances of Ginastera’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is Tiempo’s recent debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Strong relationships connect him especially to the L.A. Philharmonic and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, where he was Artist in Residence in 2018.

Orchestral repertoire in recent season has also included Beethoven Triple Concerto (L.A.), Chopin 1 (L.A., Philadelphia), Grieg (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid, Queensland), Prokofiev 1 (LA), Ravel (Taiwan National Symphony, Boston), Rachmaninov 3 (Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Liverpool, Stavanger, St Petersburg), Rachmaninov Paganini Variations (Frankfurt) and Tchaikovsky 1 (L.A., Sao Paulo, Queensland).

As a recitalist, he has appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s International Piano Series, Konzerthaus Wien, Wigmore Hall, Berliner Philharmonie and Edinburgh International Festival, at Klavier Festival Ruhr, at the George Enescu Festival, the Martha Argerich Festivals in Lugano and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Oslo Chamber Music Festival, Warsaw Chopin Festival, Brussels Chopin Days, Music Days in Lisbon, and recital tours across China, Korea, Italy, and North and South America.

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