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Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is a specialist in contemporary music and in its relationship to the traditional repertory. Emerging from the circle of Olivier Messiaen, he has focused on the music of the European avant-garde of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Aimard was born in Lyon on September 9, 1957. He studied at the Conservatoire de Lyon and then moved on to the Conservatoire de Paris, where his teacher was Yvonne Loriod, Messiaen's wife. He also knew Messiaen well and began to specialize in his music. As a student at the Conservatoire, Aimard took four first prizes. He later studied with Maria Curcio in London and took composition lessons in Budapest with György Kurtág. A first prize at the 1973 Olivier Messiaen International Competition launched Aimard's performing career, and three years later, he was invited by conductor and composer Pierre Boulez to join the new Ensemble InterContemporain as pianist. Aimard remained in that position for 18 years, touring the U.S. with the group and often performing Boulez's works. He also performs traditional concerto repertory and has appeared in that capacity with such major ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. His recitals, often held in Paris and Lyon, have included a series called Piano in the 20th Century, and they often pair contemporary and traditional works inventively. In the later parts of his career, Aimard has also appeared as a conductor. Aimard has a large catalog of more than 30 recordings, mostly but not exclusively devoted to contemporary music. In 1996, he recorded an album of György Ligeti's piano music on Sony Classical, and he has also appeared on other major labels, including Warner Classics, Teldec, and Deutsche Grammophon. In 2017, he signed a new contract with the PentaTone label, releasing several albums there, including a recording of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier") in 2021.
© James Manheim /TiVo


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