Sir András Schiff

“He found song where others find formula; he conveyed song where others play scales.” (Los Angeles Times)

Credit: Yutaka Suzuki


Having collaborated with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, Sir András Schiff now focuses primarily on solo recitals, play-directing and conducting.

Since 2004 he has performed the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas in over twenty cities, including Zurich where the cycle was recorded live for ECM. Other acclaimed recordings for the label include solo recitals of Schubert, Schumann and Bach.

In recent years his Bach has become an annual highlight of the BBC Proms. Elsewhere, he regularly performs at the Verbier, Salzburg and Baden-Baden festivals; the Wigmore Hall, Musikverein and Philharmonie de Paris; on tour in North America and Asia.

He founded the chamber orchestra Cappella Andrea Barca in 1999, and enjoys a close relationship with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment – becoming an Associate Artist of the latter in 2018.

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From The Green Room

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    30 Nov 19 Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer

    “No finer Beethoven playing”

    “Each perfectly articulated bar brought its own surprises and delights, fresh insights into works one thought one knew so well, especially from Schiff’s wonderfully eloquent left hand, and seemed to encourage Fischer and his orchestra to find new things, too.”

    “If we hear better Beethoven playing during the next year, we will be very lucky indeed.”

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    12 Apr 19 CD Review Schubert: Sonatas & Impromptus

    “I can’t remember being so spellbound by a performance’s last note than I was by the sounds slowly fading from Andras Schiff’s fingers in Schubert’s A major Piano Sonata, D.959. Just before you think the reverberation cannot last any longer, it goes on for more. Then, when you think the dynamics can’t possibly get quieter, that miracle is achieved as well.”

    “If [Schubert] were able to download this album, I think he would be tickled pink.”

    ★★★★★ Geoff Brown, The Times, 19 April 19

    “This is a magnificent, endlessly fascinating pair of discs.”

    ★★★★★ Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 11 April 19

    “Schiff defines Schubert by ‘his modesty, his humility, his lack of ego’; the same qualities are evident in every bar of these performances, which quietly command absolute attention rather than clamouring for it. These are profoundly affecting interpretations born out of a long-term loving relationship with both music and instrument, and ones to which I can see myself returning for years to come.”

    Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 12 April 19


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    29 Aug 18 BACH The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II BBC Proms
    Royal Albert Hall

    “Schiff found new energy and clarity, always offering his audience a string through the musical maze.”

    “Here was all of life, and it was exhilarating, confronting and, ultimately, consoling – a musical meditation for our troubled times.”

    ★★★★★ Alexandra Coghlan, The Independent, 30 Aug 18

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    04 Jul 18 Schiff's Surprise Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre

    “Joy untrammelled coursed through the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s all-Haydn concert […] with its new principal artist, András Schiff.”

    “He gave ample support to the excellent soloists and lean Choir of the Age of Enlightenment in the late Harmoniemesse (1804). Schiff’s own powers of expression and humour let fly in the Piano Concerto No 11 in D (1784), with all its trills, snaps, quips and Hungarian Gypsy fire. You’d pay to hear this man play the spoons.”

    ★★★★★ Fiona Maddock, The Guardian, 8 July 18

    “The magic continued in Haydn’s endearing Piano Concerto No 11, set on its way by the first violinist, Kati Debretzeni, with Schiff at the keys of his sleek modern fortepiano.”

    “[Schiff] offered very neat fingering and a funny cadenza of his own, impishly echoing the symphony’s Andante.”

    ★★★★ Geoff Brown, The Times, 6 July 18

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    08 Jan 18 "Late Brahms" Recital
    Wigmore Hall, London

    “Schiff himself has now reached a serene plateau in life where he no longer needs to prove anything; for him each recital is simply a chance to revisit often-played works, and to hold them up to the light in ways which can gently surprise.”

    ★★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent, 8 Jan 18

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    07 Sep 17 BACH The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 BBC Proms
    Royal Albert Hall

    “It was one of those unforgettable revelations.”

    ★★★★★ Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 9 September 17

    ” […] this was the most riveting performance of the work I have ever heard”

    ★★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent, 11 Sept 17

    “Schiff recovers the truth of this music in Bach’s time and sets it free to speak to ours.”

    ★★★★★ Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk, 8 September 17

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    30 Nov 16 Bach, Bartók, Janáček, Schumann Recital: 29 November 2016
    Wigmore Hall, London

    “Schiff’s Bach is an engaging blend of the cerebral and the dance-like, the left hand building up sturdy rhythms, the right weaving intricate patterns around them.

    If anything, Bartók’s fractured rhythms and broken articulations were even more convincing. Moments of almost lullaby-like repose were swept away by passages of mock solemnity…

    Schumann’s cycle very deliberately plays up the antithetical nature of the composer’s character, on the one hand gentle and musing, on the other skittish and boisterous. Schiff made the most of the mood-swings, nicely pointing up moments where the contrasts fused into an organic whole. He really is a thinking pianist.”

    Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 30 November 2016


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    07 Apr 16 Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert 'Last Sonatas': 6 April 2016
    Wigmore Hall, London

    “The Haydn and Mozart were immaculate performances, played with consummate musicality, using a palette of wonderfully translucent colours; the Beethoven was simply immense, with its first movement given a sense of unease by the edgy insistence of the left hand, and the final fugue built to a climax of huge power and glorious radiance.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 7 April 2016

    “… the Mozart was genial, spacious yet intimate, with few storms to disturb its good nature and some piquant dialogue between the hands. The Haydn was a fleeting six minutes of wit and bonhomie.

    The Bach which András Schiff played for an encore, brilliant in its elegant simplicity, was as refreshing as a glass of iced water after a slice of rich Sachertorte.”

    Frances Wilson, Bachtrack, 7 April 2016

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    19 Nov 15 'Last Sonatas': 19 November 2015
    Bath Mozartfest, Assembly Rooms Bath

    “András Schiff played his ‘Last Sonatas’ programme, which he has toured internationally for the past year, bringing drama and surprise to Haydn’s E flat Hob XVI:52; wrestling with the turbulence and eventual release of Beethoven’s Op 111 in C minor; finding gleaming clarity in the contrapuntal dialogues of Mozart’s K576 in D. This was Schiff at his ordinary best, in itself pretty extraordinary. Then he moved into a different realm of otherworldliness. His delivery of Schubert’s enormous D960 in B flat, ethereal, with bursts of fire, defies description. I’ve heard him play this work often enough. This time it was as if he were alone, communing with Schubert in some great beyond, and we were the lucky eavesdroppers.”
    Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 29 November 2015

    “This is a programme Schiff has toured over the past season, and his mastery of this Classical repertoire is second to none. He was robust and unsentimental in Haydn’s E Flat Sonata H XVI:52, choosing spacious yet grounded tempos. This is one of the final three sonatas written while the Austrian composer was visiting London in 1794, and Schiff’s performance suggested that Haydn wasn’t just the father of the symphony and the string quartet. Beethoven in C minor mood followed: gruff and unforgiving. Schiff brought determined force to the first movement and found infinite subtleties in the second, final movement, taking us from the ground to the heavens.

    In the second half, the music remained on this higher plane. Schiff brought a dewy lyricism to Mozart’s Sonata in D major, K576 (1789), paving the way for Schubert’s Sonata in B flat major. This was a towering performance of songful serenity and unsettled undercurrents, powerful in its moods but light in its touch and articulation. Hovering between the earthly and the eternal, Schiff’s Schubert touched transcendence.”

    Rebecca Franks, 7 December 2015

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    10 Nov 15 Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Sir András Schiff, 10 November 2015
    Royal Festival Hall, London

    “Only rarely does a concert of familiar repertoire, that could be enjoyable but rather run of the mill, catch you by surprise and make you hear the music in a new way. Last night, András Schiff and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment exceeded this, in performances that were truly revelatory (an overused phrase, but in this case entirely appropriate). In his brief entertaining words before the Schumann, he invited us to open our minds and listen as if it were the première – and indeed their performance was as fresh and uncluttered by tradition as if we were hearing it for the first time.”
    Nick Boston, Bachtrack, 11 November 2015

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    27 Apr 15 Schubert: Sonatas, Impromptus, Moments Musicaux
    ECM Records

    “I cannot think of anyone of his calibre who has mastered the fortepiano as well as the modern piano and shown such distinction on both. In Schubert he has a claim to be considered sovereign amount today’s players.”

    Recording of the month

    Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

    “András Schiff has decided to present a judiciously varied mixture of sonatas and character pieces on an 1820 Viennese fortepiano made by Franz Brodmann. The results are totally captivating and shed new light on such familiar music.”

    Recording of the month

    Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine, July 2015

Goldberg Variations

Why my Goldberg Variations do a dance with the devil

András Schiff is due to perform JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Proms, but is he playing the wrong instrument in the wrong hall to the wrong audience? Here he argues against his most infernal critic:

The devil’s advocate: On 22nd August 2015 you will be performing J.S.Bach’s “Goldberg-variations” at the Royal Albert Hall. Have you lost your wits?

András Schiff: No,I certainly haven’t. The RAH is a magnificent auditorium, very large but full of character, history and tradition. The atmosphere at the Proms is absolutely unique, thanks to the quality and concentration of the audience.

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