Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1953 and started piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados, and later in London with George Malcolm.
Recitals and special cycles, including the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the thirty-two Beethoven sonatas worldwide; his performance of the cycle in the Tonhalle Zurich was recorded live for ECM Records. He has been a regular guest of the San Francisco Symphony since his debut in 1984.
An exclusive ECM recording artist, Mr. Schiff has released critically-acclaimed recordings of works by Schubert, Schumann, Janáček, Beethoven, and Bach. His latest recording includes violin sonatas by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven with violinist Yuuko Shiokawa. Encores after Beethoven was released in 2016. Mr. Schiff's book, Musik kommt aus der Stille, featuring essays and conversations with Martin Meyer, was published in 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel.
This season Mr. Schiff appears as conductor and soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony, and gives more than a dozen recitals in two North American visits. His other concert performances bring him to Europe, Australia, Japan, China, and South America.
In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, Cappella Andrea Barca. From 1989 to 1998 he was artistic director of the Musiktage Mondsee chamber music festival near Salzburg, and in 1995, together with Heinz Holliger, he founded the Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte in Switzerland. In 1998 Mr. Schiff started a similar series, entitled Hommage to Palladio at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.
Mr. Schiff is an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn, and he has received the Wigmore Hall Medal, the Schumann Prize awarded by the city of Zwickau, the Golden Mozart-Medaille by the International Stiftung Mozarteum, the Order pour le mérite for Sciences and Arts, the Grosse Verdienstkreuz mit Stern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and he was named a Member of Honour of Vienna Konzerthaus. He has received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal, a Special Supernumerary Fellowship from Balliol College (Oxford, UK), and honorary degrees from Leeds University and music schools in Budapest, Detmold, and Munich. He was awarded a Knighthood by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the 2014 Birthday Honours.
In the spring of 2011, András Schiff attracted attention because of his opposition to political developments in Hungary. As a result, he has decided not to perform again in his home country.