Krystian Zimerman

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Photograph of Krystian Zimerman
Krystian Zimerman, backstage at the Seligman Performing Arts Center, Detroit, in 2004

Krystian Zimerman (born December 5, 1956) is a Polish classical pianist who has been hailed as one of the finest living pianists.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Zimerman was born in Zabrze, Poland, and studied at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice under Andrzej Jasiński. His career was launched when he won the 1975 Warsaw International Chopin Piano Competition. He performed with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan in 1976 and he made his debut in the United States with the New York Philharmonic in 1979. He has toured widely and made a number of recordings. Since 1996 he has taught piano at the Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland. In 1999, Zimerman created the Polish Festival Orchestra to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death.[3]

Zimerman is best known for his interpretations of Romantic music, but has performed a wide variety of classical pieces as well. He has also been a supporter of contemporary music. For example, Witold Lutosławski wrote his piano concerto for Zimerman, who later recorded it. Amongst his best-known recordings are the piano concerti of Grieg and Schumann with conductor Herbert von Karajan; the Brahms concerti with Leonard Bernstein, the piano concerti of Chopin, one recording conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini and a later one conducted by himself at the keyboard; the Third, Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos of Beethoven under Bernstein (Zimerman himself led the accompaniment of the Vienna Philharmonic from the keyboard in Beethoven's First and Second Concertos); the first and second piano concerti of Rachmaninoff; the piano concerti of Liszt with Seiji Ozawa, the piano concerti of Ravel with Pierre Boulez, and solo piano works by Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Schubert. In 2006, Zimerman recorded Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle (DG 477 5413; Limited Edition DG 477 6021).

Criticism of US policy[edit]

On April 26, 2009, Zimerman vowed to his audience at Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall that, in protest of America's placement of a missile defense shield in Poland, this would be his final appearance in the United States.[2][4] He had made a similar comment in 2006, stating he would not return until George W. Bush was out of office.[5] Part of his disenchantement with the USA may be that with the stepped up militarization and security at US airports, it has become increasingly difficult to bring his piano into the country. In incidents in 2001 and 2006, one of his Steinway pianos was completely destroyed and another one damaged by security staff at New York's JFK airport.[6][7][8][9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Zimerman lives with his wife and two children in Switzerland, where he has spent the greater part of his life. He divides his time between family, concerts, and performances of chamber music. When not touring or building pianos, he has been editing piano editions of the works of Władysław Szpilman for Boosey & Hawkes and has written a piece on aesthetics, which was published in Poland in March 2005.[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

Most of Zimerman's recordings have been released by Deutsche Grammophon, with which he has an exclusive lifelong contract.

Studio albums[edit]

Date of issue Date of recording Cover art Album details Collaborating artists Record label Catalogue no.
1975 Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 Jerzy Maksymiuk conducting
Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Polskie Nagrania Muza
1977 Chopin: Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise & other piano works Deutsche Grammophon
1978 Chopin: 14 Waltzes Deutsche Grammophon
1978 January 1978 Mozart: Piano Sonatas KV280, 281, 311 & 330 Deutsche Grammophon 2531 052
1979 Mozart: Violin Sonatas KV 547, 404 & 481 Kaja Danczowska (violin) Wifon
1979 November 1978 Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 Carlo Maria Giulini conducting
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon 2531 125
1980 November 1979 Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 Carlo Maria Giulini conducting
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon 2531 126
1980 June 1979 Brahms: Piano Sonatas No. 1 & 2 Deutsche Grammophon 2531 252
1981 July 1980 Franck: Violin Sonata / Szymanowski: Mythes Kaja Danczowska (violin) Deutsche Grammophon
1982 September 1981 Schumann: Piano Concerto Op. 54; Grieg: Piano Concerto Op. 16 Berlin Philharmonic
(conducted by Herbert von Karajan)
Deutsche Grammophon
1984 November 1983 Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 Vienna Philharmonic
(conducted by Leonard Bernstein)
Deutsche Grammophon 431 207-2
1985 October 1984 Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 Vienna Philharmonic
(conducted by Leonard Bernstein)
Deutsche Grammophon 415 359-2
1986 Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 Kyrill Kondrashin conducting
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon
1988 April 1987 Liszt: Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2; Totentanz Seiji Ozawa conducting
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon 423 571-2
1988 July 1987 Chopin: 4 Ballades; Barcarolle, Op. 60; Fantasie in F Deutsche Grammophon 423 090-2
1989 July 1988 Strauss: Violin Sonata Op. 18 / Respighi: Violin Sonata Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) Deutsche Grammophon
1991 February 1990 Schubert: Impromptus D.899 & D.935 Deutsche Grammophon 423 612-2
1991 March 1991 Liszt: Sonata in B minor & other piano works Deutsche Grammophon 431 780-2
1992 November 1989 & March 1990 Lutosławski: Piano Concerto; Chain 3; Novelette BBC Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Witold Lutosławski)
Deutsche Grammophon 431 664-2
1992 September 1989 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 & 4 Leonard Bernstein conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon 429 749-2
1992 September 1989 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" Leonard Bernstein conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon 429 748-2
1992 December 1991 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 & 2 Himself conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon 437 545-2
1998 November 1994 (Tracks 1-11)
July 1996 (Track 12)
125px Ravel: Piano Concerto; Valses nobles et sentimentales;
Concerto for the Left Hand in D major
London Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Pierre Boulez)
Deutsche Grammophon 449 213-2
1998 Debussy: Preludes Deutsche Grammophon
1999 August 1999 Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Himself conducting
Polish Festival Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon 459 684-2
2003 December 1997 (No.1)
December 2000 (No.2)
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Boston Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Seiji Ozawa)
Deutsche Grammophon 459 643-2
2005 November 2001 Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 1 Chicago Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Pierre Boulez)
Deutsche Grammophon
2006 September 2003 Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 Berlin Philharmonic
(conducted by Sir Simon Rattle)
Deutsche Grammophon
2011 February 2009 Bacewicz: Piano Sonata No. 2; Quintets Nos. 1 & 2 Kaja Danczowska (violin)
Agata Szymczewska (violin)
Ryszard Groblewski (viola)
Rafal Kwiatkowski (cello)
Deutsche Grammophon

Live albums[edit]

Date of issue Date of recording Cover art Album details Collaborating artists Record label Catalogue no.
1977 Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13 "Pathétique"
Prokofiev: Piano Sonara No.3, Op.28
Bacewicz: Piano Sonata No.2
Polskie Nagrania Muza
1986 Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1
(recorded in 1979)
Kyrill Kondrashin conducting
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

Video releases[edit]

Date of issue Date of filming Video details Collaborating artists Record label Catalogue no.
1984 Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 Leonard Bernstein conducting Vienna Philharmonic Deutsche Grammophon
1985 Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 Leonard Bernstein conducting Vienna Philharmonic Deutsche Grammophon
1995 Chopin: 4 Ballades; Fantasie; Barcarolle; Scherzo No. 2 / Schubert: 4 Impromptus Op. 90 Deutsche Grammophon

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]