The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University has awarded pianist Marc-André Hamelin the $50,000 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance.

Established in 2005, the biennial Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance honors pianists who have achieved the highest levels of national and international recognition. Previous winners include Richard Goode (2006), Stephen Hough (2008), Yefim Bronfman (2010), Murray Perahia (2012) Garrick Ohlsson (2014) and Emanuel Ax (2016).

“It was a truly unexpected pleasure to be offered the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance this year, and I am deeply honored to be in such illustrious company,” Hamelin said. “I know these residencies will be a wonderful opportunity to interact with students and the musical community, and I intensely look forward to this experience.”

In addition to a $50,000 cash award, the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize includes a public recital and two nonconsecutive residency periods at the Bienen School of Music. During his first residency May 1 to 3, 2019, Hamelin will engage with students and faculty in activities such as question-and-answer sessions, chamber music coaching, lecture demonstrations and student composer colloquia. His recital will be held Friday, May 3, 2019, in the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. Hamelin’s second residency will take place during the 2019-2020 academic year.

“Marc-André Hamelin is a virtuoso of the highest order. His selection as the winner of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance continues the Bienen School’s tradition of recognizing exceptional artists with this prestigious prize,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School of Music.

“Hamelin’s on-campus residencies and public recital will provide inspiration to Bienen School students and faculty, members of the University campus community as well as local concert attendees. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Hamelin to Northwestern.”

Marc-André Hamelin

Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivalled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in concert and on recordings.

Among his summer 2017 concerts were the Brahms D minor Concerto with Ludovic Morlot at the Aspen Music Festival, a recital at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Haydn Piano Concerto in D major with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vanska, a solo recital and the Trout Quintet at Austria's Schubertiade, the Chopin Concerto No. 2 with Jukka Pekka Saraste conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival, Ravel and Gershwin concerti in Montreux with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Charles Dutoit conducting, and concerts at the Orford and Lanaudiere Festivals in Canada.

He was a distinguished member of the jury of the 15th Van Cliburn Competition in 2017 where each of the 30 competitors in the preliminary round were required to perform Hamelin's “L'Homme armé." This marked the first time the composer of the commissioned work was also a member of the jury. Although primarily a performer, Hamelin has composed music throughout his career, and the majority of his works are published by Edition Peters.

His 2017-2018 season included a return to the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall on the Keyboard Virtuosos series as well as recitals including the Seattle Symphony, Yale University, Wolf Trap, Denver, Cincinnati, Savannah and internationally at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Munich, Moscow and Vancouver. Orchestra appearances include the Orchestre de Paris, Alan Gilbert conducting Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, the Schoenberg concerto with the Rundfunk-sinfonieorchester Berlin, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with Juanjo Mena and the Toronto Symphony, the Ravel G major Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony and John Storgards, Stravinsky with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot conducting, Mozart with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Cleveland Orchestra, the two Brahms concerti with the Moscow Philharmonic, Brahms and Beethoven concerti with Symphony Nova Scotia and Bernhard Gueller conducting, and the Brahms D minor concerto with Andrew Manze conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records. His most recent releases are Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat major and his Four Impromptus, Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” Concerto for Two Pianos with Leif Ove Andsnes, Morton Feldman's “For Bunita Marcus,” and Medtner Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski.  His Hyperion discography of 57 recordings includes concerti and works for solo piano by such composers as Alkan, Godowsky and Medtner, as well as brilliantly received performances of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann and Shostakovich.

He was honored with the 2014 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of Year and Disc of the Year by Diapason Magazine and Classica Magazine for his three-disc set of Busoni: Late Piano Music; and an album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Études, for which he received his ninth Grammy Award nomination in 2010 and a first prize from the German Record Critics’ Association. The Hamelin études are published by Edition Peters.

Born in Montreal, Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critic’s Association. He is an officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area with his wife, Cathy Fuller.

Jean Gimbel Lane Prize 

Established in 2005 and endowed in 2015, the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance is made possible by a generous gift from the late Jean Gimbel Lane and the late Honorable Laurence W. Lane, Jr. A 1952 graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in art history, Jean Gimbel Lane was a lifelong supporter of the arts. She passed away November 18, 2017 at age 87.

Learn more about the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize

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