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The American pianist Emanuel Ax was born in 1949 to Polish parents in Lviv in the Ukraine, where he took his first piano lessons at the age of six from his father. Following an intermediate stay in Warsaw, the family moved in 1959 to Winnipeg, Canada, and then in 1961 to New York City. It was there that Ax continued his training with Mieczysław Munz at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1973 he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions, a year later the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, and, in 1979, the Avery Fisher Prize. Since then, during an international career spanning four decades, Emanuel Ax has performed with such acclaimed ensembles as the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; he has also concertized with the Boston and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Alongside his performances as a soloist, chamber music plays a significant role for Ax. For many years he was a duo partner of Isaac Stern, and in 2016 he performed with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the violinist Itzhak Perlman. Emanuel Ax’s repertoire includes not only the major works of the Classicism and Romanticism but also many compositions of the present day that have been created specifically for him, such as the Piano Concerto by HK Gruber, which he premiered in January 2017 with the New York Philharmonic. Within his abundant discography, his recordings of piano sonatas by Haydn are especially noteworthy, having received Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2004; his album Variations, featuring works by Beethoven, Haydn, and Schumann, won the Echo Klassik Award in 2013. Emanuel Ax is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates from Yale University as well as Columbia University.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 7 September 1986 in a chamber music evening with Young Uck Kim and Yo-Yo Ma.