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Marc-André Hamelin

Like the legendary pianists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Sigismund Thalberg, Franz Liszt, Leopold Godowsky, and Ignace Jan Paderewski, it often sounds as if Marc-André Hamelin has more than ten fingers. His ability to play fiendishly difficult music, make it sound as if it's a stroll in the park, yet imbue it with musical sensitivity makes him worthy of the description "super-virtuoso" by The New York Times' Harold Schoenberg. Hamelin was born on September 5, 1961, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He studied at the Vincent d'Indy School of Music in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert, a pupil of Cortot, then received bachelor's and master's degrees at Temple University, working under Russell Sherman and Harvey Weeden. In 1985, he launched his career with a first prize victory in the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition. Since then, Hamelin has appeared in recital at a multitude of international venues, often with a thematically linked program of works. His solo turns with orchestras are no less far-reaching, covering major venues in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He also finds time for a few chamber music performances and recordings with such colleagues as Jon Kimura Parker, Angela Hewitt, Midori, and the Takács Quartet, among many others. His early recordings for the Altarus, New World, and Music & Arts labels featured music by Wolpe, Ives, Godowsky, and others. Hamelin then signed an exclusive contract as a Hyperion artist, and the frequency of releases and breadth of his repertoire helped propel his star higher. Covering concertos and solo works of composers such as Alkan, Busoni, Medtner, and Grainger -- just to name a few -- his recordings have been nominated for and won several prestigious awards, including seven Juno Awards and the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Prize from the German Record Critic's Association. The sonatas of Haydn would seem too tame for Hamelin compared to some of the other composers featured in his repertoire, but his 2007 volume of these was the year's best-seller for Hyperion. The 2010 release, Études, of his own compositions (bringing Hamelin even closer to the examples of Liszt and Godowsky), yielded the pianist his ninth (of 11) Grammy nomination and a first prize from the German Record Critic's Association. In 2019, he joined the Takács Quartet for a Hyperion album of Ernö Dohnányi's chamber music. In 2021, Hamelin premiered a Michael Gandolfi's Piano Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and conductor Robert Spano, who the work was commissioned for in celebration of his tenure with the Atlanta Symphony. The following year, Hamelin issued recordings of C.P.E. Bach's sonatas and rondos and the complete rags of Willam Bolcom. Hamelin is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l'Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
© Patsy Morita /TiVo
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