Pierre-Laurent Aimard was born on September 9, 1957 in Lyon, where he entered the conservatory. Later he studied with Yvonne Loriod and with Maria Curcio.
In 1973, he was awarded the chamber music prize of the Paris Conservatoire. In the same year, he won the first prize at the international Olivier Messiaen Competition. In 1977, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he became a founding member of the Ensemble InterContemporain. He made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty*, performing the piano solo part in Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie conducted by André Previn. [*Interestingly, this fact has been re-printed in every source, yet the concert was in January of 1977, meaning Aimard was actually 19 years of age!]
Aimard is particularly committed to contemporary music. He was the soloist in several premieres of works such as Répons by Boulez, Klavierstück XIV by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the Eleventh and Thirteenth Piano Études of György Ligeti. He has also performed the work of contemporary composers such as George Benjamin and Marco Stroppa. In May 2012, he premiered Tristan Murail's piano concerto Le Désenchantement du Monde.
Aimard was one of Carnegie Hall's "Perspectives" artists for the 2006-2007 concert season, where he programmed his own series of concerts. He served as artist-in-residence with the Cleveland Orchestra for two seasons, from 2007 to 2009. In 2007 Aimard was the Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival.
In addition to his work with contemporary music, Aimard has recorded the five Beethoven Piano Concertos with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Aimard has recorded for the Sony Classical and Teldec labels. In August 2007, he signed a new recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
Aimard has recently extended his musical activities to conducting.
In 2009, Aimard became the Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival in England, for an initial contract of 3 years. Aimard is a visiting professor and an Honorary Member (2006) of the Royal Academy of Music. He appears in the 2007 film Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037.
Aimard was featured recording Bach's The Art of Fugue in the 2009 award-winning German-Austrian documentary Pianomania, about Steinway & Sons' piano technician Stefan Knüpfer, which was directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis. The film premiered theatrically in North America, where it was met with positive reviews by The New York Times, as well as in Asia and throughout Europe, and is a part of the Goethe-Institut catalogue.
-- Names which are links refer to my Interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
© 1998 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on May 4, 1998. Portions were broadcast on WNIB three weeks later, and on WNUR in 2003 and 2013. This transcription was made in 2017, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.