Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Canada with his family when he was a young boy. He studied at the Juilliard School and Columbia University, capturing public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. Mr. Ax made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1979 and appeared here most recently in 2016.
Mr. Ax regularly collaborates with living composers, having performed works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. The 2016-17 season sees Mr. Ax give the world and European premieres of HK Gruber’s Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, respectively. His recital programs this season include works by Schubert and Chopin partnered with Samuel Adams’s Impromptus (2015-2016), commissioned for Mr. Ax by Music Accord and inspired by Schubert. His ongoing relationship with the Boston Symphony includes visits to Carnegie Hall, Montreal, and Toronto, and he also makes return engagements with the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Detroit.
An exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987, Mr. Ax’s recent releases include the ECHO Klassik award-winning album Variations, featuring works of Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, and Copland. Other releases include a duo recording with Itzhak Perlman of sonatas by Fauré and R. Strauss, Mendelssohn’s trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Mr. Perlman, R. Strauss's Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart, two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman, and a series of Grammy-winning recordings with Mr. Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. Mr. Ax has received Grammy awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. With Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Ax has recorded discs of Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 for SFS Media.
Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki, with whom he has two children. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia universities. For more information, visit EmanuelAx.com.