Pierre-Laurent Aimard

French pianist (born 1957 in Lyon)

Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys a solid reputation with audiences of contemporary music. He is considered not only a standard-setter in this field but also a significant, globally-acclaimed performer of piano music through the ages.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard began the piano at the age of five. After studying at the Lyon conservatoire, he went on to graduate from the Paris conservatoire with distinctions in four subjects, including piano at the age of 14. He was a pupil of Yvonne Loriod and from the age of 12 became familiar with the work of Olivier Messiaen. He became an eminent specialist in Messiaen's compositions and one of his preferred performers.
He continued his musical training in London with Maria Curcio, then in Budapest with György Kurtag.
Pierre-Laurent Aimard's career acquired an international dimension in 1973 when he won first prize in the Oliver Messiaen Competition. He began playing with top international orchestras under renowned conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Sergiu Celibidache and Daniel Barenboim.
In his programmes, Pierre-Laurent Aimard strikes a balance between the traditional and avant-garde repertoires, and always makes room for new works. In 1976, at the age of 19, he became the first solo pianist in the Ensemble InterContemporain, after his name was put forward by Pierre Boulez. He remained with the ensemble for 18 years. As a member of the ensemble, he gave numerous first performances and played an important role in promoting new music. He worked closely with Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen, George Benjamin and Marco Stroppa. In the 1980s, he struck up a friendship with György Ligeti, who dedicated several piano compositions to him and subsequently entrusted him with recording his piano works.
Since 1990, he has been teaching chamber music at the Paris conservatoire and piano at the Hochschule in Cologne. He is also visiting professor of music at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is keen to embrace educational outreach. During the 1994-95 season, he presented a series of concerts with commentaries in Lyon and at Radio France headquarters in Paris, during which he analysed the major twentieth-century piano works. This type of performance with commentaries will continue in the form of a collaborative project with the Arte television channel.
He was also artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival in England from 2009 to 2016.
To coincide with the exhibition of the Shchukin Collection of paintings at the Vuitton Foundation in 2016-2017, the pianist presented a number of concerts with commentaries on the "Impact of the Russian and French Avant-Garde".

Official website: www.pierrelaurentaimard.com

Six landmark dates in the life of Pierre-Laurent Aimard:

  • 2001: First recital at Carnegie Hall  
  • 2008-2009: associate professor at the Collège de France, teaching the "parameters and dimensions of musical interpretation" 
  • 2009: received a Victoire de la musique award in the Best Instrumental Soloist category 
  • 2012: recorded the complete Debussy Préludes with Deutsche Grammophon 
  • 2015-2016: artist-in-residence with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra; played the Beethoven concertos, conducted by Philippe Jordan
  • 2017: awarded the International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize

Bibliography compiled from Radio France musical documentation, March 2017