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 issueDate of recordingCover artAlbum detailsCollaborating artistsRecord labelCatalogue no.
1975Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1Jerzy Maksymiuk conducting
Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Polskie Nagrania Muza
1977Chopin: Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise & other piano worksDeutsche Grammophon
1978Chopin: 14 WaltzesDeutsche Grammophon
1978January 1978Mozart: Piano Sonatas KV280, 281, 311 & 330Deutsche Grammophon2531 052
1979Mozart: Violin Sonatas KV 547, 404 & 481Kaja Danczowska (violin)Wifon
1979November 1978Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1Carlo Maria Giulini conducting
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon2531 125
1980November 1979Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2Carlo Maria Giulini conducting
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon2531 126
1980June 1979Brahms: Piano Sonatas No. 1 & 2Deutsche Grammophon2531 252
1981July 1980Franck: Violin Sonata / Szymanowski: MythesKaja Danczowska (violin)Deutsche Grammophon
1982September 1981Schumann: Piano Concerto Op. 54; Grieg: Piano Concerto Op. 16Berlin Philharmonic
(conducted by Herbert von Karajan)
Deutsche Grammophon
1984November 1983Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1Vienna Philharmonic
(conducted by Leonard Bernstein)
Deutsche Grammophon431 207-2
1985October 1984Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2Vienna Philharmonic
(conducted by Leonard Bernstein)
Deutsche Grammophon415 359-2
1986Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1Kyrill Kondrashin conducting
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon
1988April 1987Liszt: Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2; TotentanzSeiji Ozawa conducting
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon423 571-2
1988July 1987Chopin: 4 Ballades; Barcarolle, Op. 60; Fantasie in FDeutsche Grammophon423 090-2
1989July 1988Strauss: Violin Sonata Op. 18 / Respighi: Violin SonataKyung-Wha Chung (violin)Deutsche Grammophon
1991February 1990Schubert: Impromptus D.899 & D.935Deutsche Grammophon423 612-2
1991March 1991Liszt: Sonata in B minor & other piano worksDeutsche Grammophon431 780-2
1992November 1989 & March 1990Lutosławski: Piano Concerto; Chain 3; NoveletteBBC Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Witold Lutosławski)
Deutsche Grammophon431 664-2
1992September 1989Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 & 4Leonard Bernstein conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon429 749-2
1992September 1989Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor"Leonard Bernstein conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon429 748-2
1992December 1991Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 & 2Himself conducting
Vienna Philharmonic
Deutsche Grammophon437 545-2
1998November 1994 (Tracks 1-11)
July 1996 (Track 12)
125pxRavel: Piano Concerto; Valses nobles et sentimentales;
Concerto for the Left Hand in D major
London Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Pierre Boulez)
Deutsche Grammophon449 213-2
1998Debussy: PreludesDeutsche Grammophon
1999August 1999Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2Himself conducting
Polish Festival Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon459 684-2
2003December 1997 (No.1)
December 2000 (No.2)
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2Boston Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Seiji Ozawa)
Deutsche Grammophon459 643-2
2005November 2001Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 1Chicago Symphony Orchestra
(conducted by Pierre Boulez)
Deutsche Grammophon
2006September 2003Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1Berlin Philharmonic
(conducted by Sir Simon Rattle)
Deutsche Grammophon
2011February 2009Bacewicz: Piano Sonata No. 2; Quintets Nos. 1 & 2Kaja Danczowska (violin)
Agata Szymczewska (violin)
Ryszard Groblewski (viola)
Rafal Kwiatkowski (cello)
Deutsche Grammophon

Live albums[edit]

Date of issueDate of recordingCover artAlbum detailsCollaborating artistsRecord labelCatalogue no.
1977Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13 "Pathétique"
Prokofiev: Piano Sonara No.3, Op.28
Bacewicz: Piano Sonata No.2
Polskie Nagrania Muza
1986Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1
(recorded in 1979)
Kyrill Kondrashin conducting
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

Video releases[edit]

Date of issueDate of filmingVideo detailsCollaborating artistsRecord labelCatalogue no.
1984Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1Leonard Bernstein conducting Vienna PhilharmonicDeutsche Grammophon
1985Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2Leonard Bernstein conducting Vienna PhilharmonicDeutsche Grammophon
1995Chopin: 4 Ballades; Fantasie; Barcarolle; Scherzo No. 2 / Schubert: 4 Impromptus Op. 90Deutsche Grammophon

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]