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Krystian Zimerman (Zabrze, Poland, December 5, 1956) is a Polish pianist and conductor, internationally recognized soloist.
Zimerman was born in Zabrze into a family with a long musical tradition, so he began studying piano with his father as a child. He debuted with six years in a Polish television broadcast and at seven he began studying with Andrzej Jasinski (who was his only teacher) and graduated in 1976 at the Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland. After participating in several competitions since he was young, his career was launched after winning the Ninth edition of the Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1975, at the age of eighteen. Subsequently, he retired for a year in order to increase his repertoire.
He lives with his wife and two children in Switzerland, where he has spent much of his life. Distribute your time between family, concerts and performances of chamber music.
Career as a pianist
He debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Herbert von Karajan in 1976, and made his American debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1979. Since then he has made numerous tours and has made a number of recordings. Among the directors he has worked with are Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Kiril Kondrashin, André Previn, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Simon Rattle or Zubin Mehta. . With some of them he worked closely and became friends. In fact, Zimerman was for many years the only pianist with whom Bernstein collaborated.
Since 1996 he is a piano teacher at the Music Academy of Basel, Switzerland. Since then he performs only about fifty concerts per year, in which he usually performs works by composers from the country where he performs. He travels with his own piano, a Steinway, minimizing technical problems and being able to focus exclusively on musical aspects, and is increasingly interested in the technical possibilities of the instrument. He has a recording studio in his own house, although his number of recordings has not increased, only once every two years. As a conductor he has recorded two Chopin concerts directed from the piano, in the manner of the virtuosos of the 19th century. For this, he founded the Polish Festival Orchestra.
Known as a specialist in Frédéric Chopin, he is also a great interpreter of Johannes Brahms. Witold Lutosławski wrote his piano concerto particularly for this pianist, who later recorded it.
Particularly demanding with its own records, it has not hesitated to remove from the circulation recordings already published (Chopin’s waltzes and sonatas and ballads by Brahms) despite the enthusiasm aroused among the public and critics.
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