Great Pianists of the New Generation

Pianists that create the future of classical music and Deutsche Grammophon

Jeop Beving (2016) by © Rahi RezvaniDeutsche Grammophon

Joep Beving

"I call it 'simple music for complex emotions'. The world is a hectic place right now and I feel a deep urge to reconnect on a basic human level with people in general. Music as our universal language has the power to unite." Dutch composer and musician Joep Beving is a towering figure in the streaming world – and in real life too, thanks to his two-metre frame (nearly 6'10), wild hair and flowing beard. Joep’s delicate melodies instantly struck a chord with listeners. His first DG album 'Prehension' displays introspective, melancholy, filmic and uplifting characteristics – presented in a simple, warm acoustic atmosphere which will help soothe the soul.

Joep Beving: Hanging D - Cello Octet Amsterdam (Interview) (2018) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

Hanging D

Seong-Jin Cho (2015) by © Bartek Sadowski / The Fryderyk Chopin InstituteDeutsche Grammophon

Seong-Jin Cho 

Born on 28 May 1994, in Seoul (South Korea), Seong-Jin Cho is today based in Paris. He won the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2008 and the Hamamatsu Piano Competition in Japan in 2009, as well as Third Prizes in both the Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia in 2011 and the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2014.

Seong-Jin Cho at Chopin Competition (2015) by © The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Polish Television TVP 2015Deutsche Grammophon

In Korea, local celebrity propelled Seong-Jin Cho’s DG debut disc to top the pop album charts in his native South Korea. But there was more than national pride to the story. Video footage of frenzied record-buyers and news that the 2015 Chopin International Piano Competition winner’s album had scored six-times platinum sales in Korea within weeks of its release belonged to a broader pattern repeated throughout Asia.

Seong-Jin Cho plays Chopin (2017) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

Seong-Jin Cho plays Chopin

Hélène Grimaud (2014) by © Mat HennekDeutsche Grammophon

Hélène Grimaud

Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.

Hélène Grimaud (2015) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

"Each time I perform or record, I find myself in Heraclitus’ shoes, wading out into the water and there meeting myself anew. Collaborating with Nitin has opened for me new horizons of sound and offered a fresh way of experiencing a piano recital. At the same time, the process has reaffirmed my belief in the limitless capacity of music not only to represent Nature, but to interpret it and to stimulate change. Music comprises both the desire to express and the capacity to listen. And to listen to music is to listen to Nature. Today more than ever, Nature demands of human beings our respect, our care, our compassion. It is my greatest wish that by sharing the sounds of music, by listening attentively to the voices of our environment together, we can all draw closer not only to Nature, but indeed to ourselves. For we are water."

Lang Lang (2006) by © Nie Zheng / DGDeutsche Grammophon

Lang Lang

It was not long before he became a pianist –

not just any pianist but one of the greats, hailed by the New

York Times as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet”

and named by Time magazine among the world’s 100 most  influential people. Lang Lang has been heard around the

world, performing solo recitals, as well as concertos with the

finest orchestras and conductors. Billions were entranced when the Chinese musician performed at the opening ceremony of

the Beijing Olympics. Countless others, meanwhile, have been

inspired to take piano lessons by the energy and intensity of his

charismatic artistry.

Lang Lang (2009) by © Olaf Heine / DGDeutsche Grammophon

The “Lang Lang Effect”, however we measure it, is a global phenomenon, a powerful, positive force ranged against the decline of classical music studies in the schools of Europe and North America and an antidote to the belief that great music belongs to an exclusive audience of initiates. For Lang Lang, raised in humble circumstances in the Chinese city of Shenyang, classical music belongs to all.

Jan Lisiecki (2016) by © Holger HageDeutsche Grammophon

Jan Lisiecki

At just 21, Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki has won acclaim for his extraordinary interpretive maturity, distinctive sound, and poetic sensibility. The New York Times has called him “a pianist who makes every note count”. Lisiecki’s insightful interpretations, refined technique, and natural affinity for art give him a musical voice that belies his age. Jan Lisiecki was born to Polish parents in Canada in 1995. He began piano lessons at the age of five and made his concerto debut four years later, while always rebuffing the label of "child prodigy”. His approach to music is a refreshing combination of dedication, skill, enthusiasm and a realistic perspective on the career of a musician. "I might be lucky to have talent, but it is also about dedication and hard work,” says Jan.

Jan Lisiecki (2016) by © Holger HageDeutsche Grammophon

Foremost radio and television networks in Europe and North America have extensively broadcast Lisiecki’s performances, he was also the subject of the CBC National News documentary The Reluctant Prodigy. In 2013 he received the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and was also named as Gramophone magazine’s Young Artist of the Year.
Jan is involved in charity work, donating his time and performance to such organizations as the David Foster Foundation, the Polish Humanitarian Organization and the Wish Upon a Star Foundation. In 2012 he was named UNICEF Ambassador to Canada having been a National Youth Representative since 2008.

Víkingur Ólafsson (2016) by © Ari Magg / DGDeutsche Grammophon

Víkingur Ólafsson

Víkingur grew up in Iceland where he studied with Erla Stefánsdóttir and Peter Máté. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald. Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards as well as The Icelandic Optimism Prize.

Víkingur Ólafsson - Johann Sebastian Bach (Interview) (2018) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

Víkingur Ólafsson - Johann Sebastian Bach (Interview)

Alice Sara Ott (2015) by © Astrid Ackermann/UnitelDeutsche Grammophon

Alice Sara Ott

Armed with formidable technical mastery and profound musical sensitivity, Alice Sara Ott stands among the most compelling artists of her generation. The German-Japanese musician’s poetic pianism, hailed by critics for its refinement and intensity, has prompted favourable comparisons with great performers from the past.

Alice Sara Ott - Satie (2018) by © DGDeutsche Grammophon

Alice Sara Ott plays Satie.

Ott’s music-making is guided by a desire to connect with the essential spirit of the works in her repertoire; above all, it flows from her innate ability to channel a vast range of emotions and imaginative responses into every performance.

Max Richter (2016) by © Yulia MahrDeutsche Grammophon

Max Richter 

If there is such a thing as progress in the music of the 21st century, then it is to be found in the crumbling of stylistic frontiers. The old boundaries can still be made out, the checkpoints and barriers, but they no longer stop musicians picking up signals from far and wide. Nor should it be forgotten that the craft of music-making has been changed by the computer, which can and will be used in all its fields of application, from first sketches of early ideas to reviewing and filtering, through its precise implementation in the sequencer to its realization in sound, which in the works of Max Richter for example is extrapolated into new frequencies, into subsonic depths and ultra-high heights that could scarcely be attained with traditional instruments, after which the computer is still needed for the editing and packaging of the newly created work.

The Blue Notebooks (2018)Deutsche Grammophon

The Blue Notebooks (2018)

Daniil Trifonov (2017) by © Dario Acosta / DGDeutsche Grammophon

Daniil Trifonov

Whenever Daniil Trifonov performs, time appears to stand still. Out of profound silence emerges a rare kind of music-making, transcendent and revelatory, never predictable yet always alive to the composer’s intentions and rooted in the music’s nature. “What he does with his hands is technically incredible,” observed one commentator shortly after the young Russian pianist’s winning performance in the final of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011.

Daniil Trifonov (2018) by © Dario AcostaDeutsche Grammophon

“It’s also his touch – he has tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that.” This was the opinion not of a professional critic but of one of the world’s greatest pianists, Martha Argerich. She concluded that Trifonov was gifted with “everything and more”, a view endorsed since by a flood of rave reviews, audience ovations and international prizes.

Daniil Trifonov (2018)Deutsche Grammophon

In July 2015 Richard Morrison, senior critic of The Times (London) declared that “[Trifonov] is without question the most astounding pianist of our age”. The verdict was reinforced in January 2017 by Alex Ross in The New Yorker. “What sets Trifonov apart,” he observed, “is a pair of attributes that are seldom found in one pianist: monstrous technique and lustrous tone.”

Yuja Wang (2018) by © Aline PaleyDeutsche Grammophon

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang is widely recognized as one of the most important artists of her generation, both for her supreme musicianship and her ability to captivate audiences of all ages. “Hers is a nonchalant, brilliant keyboard virtuosity that would have made both Prokofiev (who was a great pianist) and even the fabled Horowitz jealous,” observed the Los Angeles Times after one sensational performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

Yuja Wang (2015) by © Norbert Kniat / DGDeutsche Grammophon

Yuja Wang was born into a musical family in Beijing on 10 February 1987.

Yuja Wang - Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand in D (excerpt)Deutsche Grammophon

Beyond drawing comparisons with past greats, reviewers have also hailed the emotional honesty and profound intelligence of her interpretations, and the charismatic power of her stage presence.

Credits: Story

Frederik Hanssen (Translation: Texthouse)
Michael Church (Translation:Christine Heinrichs)
Alice Sara Ott (Translation: J. Bradford Robinson)
Annette Nolte-Jacob
Bernhard Neuhoff (Translation: Stewart Spencer)
Hélène Grimaud mit Misha Aster (Translation: Eva Zöllner)
Stefan Hentz (Translation: Janet and Michael Berridge)
Oscar Alan (Translation: Stefan Lerche)
Víkingur Ólafsso (Translation:Reinhard Lüthje, Richard Evidon)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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