Born to Polish parents in what is today Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 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. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in February 1979.
The 2022–23 season includes a tour with Itzhak Perlman and a continuation of the Beethoven For Three touring and recording project with Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma. He also performs with the Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Boston Symphony, San Diego Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra, and tours the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and Germany.
Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, and received Grammy Awards for his second and third volumes of Haydn piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms cello sonatas, and contributed to an Emmy Award-winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust. In 2013, he received an Echo Klassik Award.
Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory, Yale University, and Columbia University.