Biography

András Schiff

Current as of August 2022

Sir András Schiff is among the best and most versatile pianists of our age and works internationally with leading conductors and orchestras. One focus of his career is directing piano concertos by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven from the keyboard. In 1999 he founded his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, with which — as well as with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment — he works regularly as a conductor and soloist.  

In his piano recitals, he is particularly drawn to cyclical programmes; accordingly, he has focussed especially on piano works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók. Since 2004 he has performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, in chronological order, in more than twenty cities. The live recordings from the Zurich Tonhalle received the highest awards.  

In 2012, András Schiff won the International Classical Music Award in the category ‘Solo Instrument. Recording of the Year’ for his CD recording of works by Robert Schumann, Geistervariationen. His recent recordings include a 2020 album with the clarinettist and composer Jörg Widmann that features Brahms’s clarinet sonatas op. 120 alongside intermezzi for piano by Jörg Widmann dedicated to András Schiff, and a 2021 recording of both of Johannes Brahms’s piano concertos with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  

Highlights of the 2022/23 season will include a European tour with the Cappella Andrea Barca, conducting a production of Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Mozartwoche, and Schubertiade evenings at the Vienna Konzerthaus.  

Since his early youth András Schiff has been a passionate chamber musician. From 1989 to 1998 he directed the chamber music festival Musiktage Mondsee, from 1995 to 2013 he and Heinz Holliger were joint artistic directors of the Ittingen Whitsun Concerts at the Ittingen Charterhouse, and since 1998 he has directed the concert series Omaggio a Palladio at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.  

András Schiff was born in 1953 in Budapest. He began piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. He subsequently continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados, and with George Malcolm in London.  

András Schiff has received numerous international prizes and in June 2006 was made an honorary member of the Beethoven House in Bonn for his exceptional work as a Beethoven interpreter. In 2012 he received the Golden Mozart Medal from the International Mozarteum Foundation. He is a recipient of the Order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts, and of the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Leeds and the Royal College of Music. He was awarded an English knighthood in 2014 by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music.  

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