Emanuel Ax is renowned not only for his poetic temperament and unsurpassed virtuosity, but also for the exceptional breadth of his performing activity. Each season, his distinguished career includes appearances with major symphony orchestras worldwide, recitals in the most celebrated concert halls, a variety of chamber music collaborations, the commission and performance of new works, and additions to his acclaimed discography on Sony Classical.
Emanuel Ax first captured public attention in 1974 when, aged 25, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. Five years later he took the coveted Avery Fisher Prize in New York. He has been an exclusive Sony Classical artist since 1987, making his debut on that label with a collection of Chopin scherzos and mazurkas. His recent releases include a two-piano programme (with Yefim Bronfman) of works by Brahms, period-instrument performances of Chopin's complete works for piano and orchestra with the OAE under Sir Charles Mackerras' baton, and the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony. Other notable recordings are a Grammy-award winning album of Haydn Piano Sonatas, the two Liszt Concertos paired with the Schoenberg Concerto, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and a recording of John Adams' "Century Rolls" with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch.
Recent highlights for Emanuel Ax have included a season-long "Perspectives" series at Carnegie Hall, New York, focusing on the music of Debussy and featuring Ax in orchestral performances, a solo recital and three chamber concerts. For the 2005/6 season he was appointed "Pianist in Residence" at the Berlin Philharmonic, performing under Sir Simon Rattle's baton in Berlin and New York and in four chamber concerts with members of the orchestra. Other recent engagements include Ax's collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group, playing Mozart Piano Concerti in a series of performances at the Lincoln Center in New York, the Barbican Theatre in London and at Peter Sellars' "New Crowned Hope" Mozart Festival in Vienna.
Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. His piano teacher was Mieczylaw Munz. He also attended Columbia University where he majored in French. In May 2007 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Music at Yale University.
In 2010, on Chopin's and Schumann's bicentenary, he premiered with Yo Yo Ma and Dawn Upshaw new works by John Adams in the United States. He also went on tour that same year in Asia with the New York Philharmonic and in Europe with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He lives in New York with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki.