Garrick Ohlsson

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Garrick Ohlsson
Garrick Ohlsson.jpg
Garrick Ohlsson in 2010
Background information
Born (1948-04-03) April 3, 1948 (age 70)
Bronxville, New York
Genres Classical
Instruments Piano

Garrick Olof Ohlsson (born April 3, 1948 in Bronxville, New York) is an American classical pianist.[1] Ohlsson is the first and only American to win first prize in the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, in 1970.[2] He also won first prize at the Busoni Competition in Italy[3] and the Montreal Piano Competition in Canada. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994[4] and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohlsson has also been nominated for three Grammy Awards, winning one in 2008.

Early life[edit]

Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of eight at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains and, at the age of 13, began studying at the Juilliard School. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévinne and Irma Wolpe.[5] Although Ohlsson is especially noted for his performances of the works of Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Schubert, he has a broad range from Bach and Busoni to Copland, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Claude Debussy, Gershwin and contemporary composers who have written new works for him, such as Justin Dello Joio. Writing in The New York Times, music critic Allan Kozinn has characterized Ohlsson's repertory as "huge."[6]


Ohlsson has performed in North America with symphony orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Washington D.C., and Berkeley; and the National Arts Centre, St. Paul Chamber, and the London Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. He also played live accompanied with violinist Hilary Hahn and contralto Ewa Podles.[7]

Ohlsson is an avid chamber musician and has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takács and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. In 2005-2006, Ohlsson toured with the Takács Quartet. Ohlsson is also a founding member of San Francisco's FOG Trio, together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier.[8]

In 2006-2007, he opened the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. He has also performed at the BBC Proms with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In 2010, he visited Australia and gave concerts in Melbourne.[citation needed]

Among his many recordings, Ohlsson undertook a survey of Chopin's entire musical output on Hyperion Records–including the complete solo piano music, chamber music, works for piano and orchestra, and songs. In 1989, he recorded Busoni's five movement Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 with the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi.[9] Ohlsson has also recorded all of the Beethoven piano sonatas for Bridge Records.[10]

Ohlsson possesses an unusually vast repertoire that ranges over some eighty concertos. He is also known for his exceptional keyboard stretch (a 12th in the left hand and an 11th in the right).[11]

Ohlsson made an appearance on ABC's The Dick Cavett Show on November 14, 1971 where he also performed a piano piece. The show also featured actor/singer Sammy Davis Jr., and young "Family Affair" actress Anissa Jones.

Personal life[edit]

Ohlsson currently lives in San Francisco with his partner, Robert Guter, a historic preservationist.[12][13]



Garrick Ohlsson has recorded with the following labels:


  1. ^ "Garrick Ohlsson". Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "VIII Competition — 1970". The International Chopin Competition. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "List of Winners 1961-1970". International Busoni Competition. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Winners". Avery Fisher Prize. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Horowitz, Joseph (1992). Conversations with Arrau. Limelight Editions. p. 333. ISBN 0879100133. 
  6. ^ Kozinn, Allan. "Garrick Ohlsson, Chopin expert sets his sights on Liszt". New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "FOG Trio Artist Profile". St. Paul Sunday. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Garrick Ohlsson Discography". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Marathon Men – Two Complete Beethoven Sonatas Projects to Achieve Completion during 2009 | Piano Street's Classical Piano News". Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  11. ^ Dubal, David (1984). Reflections from the Keyboard. New York: Summit Books. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-671-49240-3. 
  12. ^ Oestreich, James R. "MUSIC; Combining Brain and Brawn to Serve a Demanding Master". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "Artists on the Bench: This Week With Garrick Ohlsson". 
  14. ^ Huot, Cécile. "Montreal International Music Competition/Concours international de musique de Montréal". 
  15. ^ "Garrick Ohlsson". 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-07-15. 

External links[edit]