Deemed an "extraordinary visionary” by the Washington Post and a pioneer artist renowned for his revelatory insights, Aimard was awarded the prestigious 2017 International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in recognition of a life devoted to the service of music.
Aimard is widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and has had close collaborations with many leading composers including György Ligeti whose complete works for piano he has recorded. He has also worked with Stockhausen, George Benjamin, and Pierre Boulez, who appointed Aimard, aged 19, to become the Ensemble intercontemporain´s first solo pianist. Praised by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around“, Aimard has had a close association to the composer himself and with Yvonne Loriod, with whom he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Recent seasons have included the release of Messiaen’s opus magnum Catalogue d’oiseaux on Pentatone, which was honoured with multiple awards including the prestigious German music critic’s award “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” Aimard has also performed the world premieres of piano works by Kurtág at Teatro alla Scala; Carter’s last piece Epigrams, which was written for Aimard, Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s works Responses; Sweet disorder and the carefully careless and Keyboard Engine for two pianos which will receive its London premiere in autumn 2019.
An innovative curator and uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Aimard has been invited to direct and perform in a number of residencies, with ground-breaking projects at New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Vienna, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux Arts, Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Tanglewood Festival, and Edinburgh Festival, and was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016. He performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Eötvös, Sir Simon Rattle and Vladimir Jurowski.
Aimard’s 2019/20 programme focus, “Beethoven and the Avant-Garde”, is a tour de force of pianistic discoveries which transcends traditional boundaries. In this unique and very personal take on Beethoven’s legacy developed in response to the composer’s 250th anniversary year, Aimard juxtaposes Viennese Classic with compositions of the avant-garde to reveal surprising cross-references. This season sees Aimard present the project in concerts as part of Berliner Festspiele at Philharmonie Berlin, Philharmonie de Paris, Tokyo Opera City, Southbank Centre and on tour in the US.
Together with Gürzenich Orchestra and François-Xavier Roth, Aimard tours Europe with their "New Academy Concerts" series created in the spirit of Beethoven’s Academy soirées where the legendary modernist, humanist and musical revolutionary presented his own creations to the Viennese public. Aimard takes both Beethoven projects to London as part of his ongoing three-year residency at Southbank Centre. In recital Aimard pairs the two mightiest and transcendental piano sonatas in music history - Ives’ Concord Sonata (which Aimard recorded and for which he received a Grammy award) and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata.
This season, Aimard is also resident at Casa da Música performing works by Messiaen, Dufourt, and Murail’s piano concerto Le Desenchantement du Monde, premiered with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and receiving the 2017 Gramophone award. He returns to Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, to mention but a few.
Through his professorship at the Hochschule Köln as well as numerous series of concert lectures and workshops worldwide, Aimard sheds an inspiring light on music of all periods. During the 2008/09 season Aimard was an Associate Professor at the College de France, Paris and he is a member of Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste. In 2015 he launched a major online resource Explore the Score, centred on the performance and teaching of Ligeti’s piano music in collaboration with Klavier-Festival Ruhr