Marc-André Hamelin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin, pianist (b at Montréal 5 Sep 1961). After his training in Montréal, he studied in Philadelphia at Temple University with Harvey D. Wedeen and Russell Sherman.
Hamelin, Marc-André
Hamelin's piano playing is noted for its astonishing virtuosity (photo by Peter Shaaf). The music is an excerpt from an adaptation by Leopold Godowsky of R. Strauss's Serenade (courtesy CBC).

Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin, pianist (b at Montréal 5 Sep 1961). After his training in Montréal, he studied in Philadelphia at Temple University with Harvey D. Wedeen and Russell Sherman. He won the Pretoria (South Africa) International Piano Competition (1982) and the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition (1985) and subsequently appeared in concert halls throughout Canada and the US, including at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. In 1987 he was a soloist with the MONTREAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA during its European tour. Described by a critic as "Glenn Gould's only worthy successor," he is now well established in both North America and Europe and has made festival appearances worldwide.

Hamelin has appeared in concerto performances with most major Canadian orchestras as well as the BBC Scottish, BBC Symphony, Basel, City of Birmingham, Bremen, Buffalo, Chicago, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Houston, Lahti, OSI Lugano, London Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Royal Concertgebouw, Saarbrücken Radio, Strasbourg, Swedish Radio, Turku, Ulster and Utah orchestras, as well as the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He has collaborated with a distinguished list of conductors, including Matthias Bamert, Andrew Davis, Charles DUTOIT, Christoph Eschenbach, Günther Herbig, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam, Vassili Sinaisky, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Leonard Slatkin, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Bramwell Tovey, Osmo Vanska and Hugh Wolff.

Hamelin's active interest in little-known repertoire is reflected in his growing discography, which includes over 50 titles. He has recorded works by numerous nineteenth and twentieth-century composers and has devoted CDs to major works or collections of works by Alkan, Bolcom, ECKHARDT-GRAMATTÉ, Sorabji and Rzewski. Other recent and future recordings feature works by Scriabin, Busoni, Villa Lobos, Chopin/Godowsky, Grainger, Sapustin, Szymanowski, Medtner, Roslavet, Ornstein and Schumann. In 2004 Hamelin's recording of Albinez's Iberia, based on an investigation of the composer's manuscripts, received widespread praise.

Hamelin plays with a blistering velocity and a stunning articulation, but has also received accolades in the most authoritative critical circles for both his intellectual command and emotional engagement at the keyboard. He received the Sylva-Gelber Foundation Prize and the Virginia P. Moore Prize from the CANADA COUNCIL in 1987 and 1989 respectively. In 1998, he won a JUNO AWARD for his recording of music by Franz Liszt. His recording of works by Georgy Catoire and Percy Grainger received the Australian Soundscapes Award in 1997, and his CD entitled The Composer-Pianist fron Alkan to Hamelin was awarded the Deutschen Schallplattenkritik Prize in 1997 and 1998.

Hamelin has received multiple nominations for Grammy Awards. In 2001 his CD of Ferruccio Busoni's Piano Concerto as well as his recording of Leopold Godowsky's transcriptions of Chopin's Etudes were both nominated, and he performed during the television broadcast of the event. In 2002 he received a Grammy nomination for a recording featuring works by nineteenth-century pianist/virtuoso Charles Valentin Alkan, and again in 2003 for his CD entitled Kaleidoscope. His recording of music by Liszt, featuring the "Piano Sonata in B Minor," was selected for a Juno Award in 2012.

Hamelin currently holds an exclusive recording contract with Hyperion Records. His catalogue of compositions, most of which are found in the Sorabji Archive in Bath, England, numbers approximately a dozen works to date for solo keyboard or small ensembles. He has recorded many of these, including a number of Etudes in minor keys and portions of a multi-movement piano work entitled Con Intimissimo Sentimento. His recording of a number of these solo works, entitled Études, was released in 2010 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra).

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