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Garrick Ohlsson Wins 2014 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance

Award includes $50,000 prize, Bienen School of Music residency and 2016 recital

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March 20, 2014 | by Judy Moore
Renowned American pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Renowned American pianist Garrick Ohlsson -- one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Chopin -- is the 2014 recipient of the $50,000 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance. The announcement was made today (March 20) by the Northwestern University Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

The biennial award 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) and Murray Perahia (2012).

In addition to the $50,000 cash award, the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize-winner spends two to three non-consecutive weeks in residency at the Bienen School of Music, engaging with students and the public in master classes, chamber music coaching and lectures. The winner also performs a public recital on the University’s Evanston campus. Ohlsson’s recital will take place on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

“I'm honored and delighted to receive the 2014 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance,” said Ohlsson. “It's a pleasure to join the distinguished group of colleagues who have received this award. I look forward to stimulating interactions with the students at the Bienen School of Music. For me, this is a wonderful intensification of many appearances in the Chicago area, both downtown in recital and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and numerous visits to Ravinia.”

A previous recipient of the 1994 Avery Fisher Prize, the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award and a 2008 Grammy Award, Ohlsson is known for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. He has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him.

“Garrick Ohlsson is a pianist of exceptional virtuosity, intellect and artistry,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School. “Mr. Ohlsson has performed several times on campus in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. His selection as the winner of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance will be a tremendous gift to Bienen School students and our audiences.”

Ohlsson’s reputation as a musician of superb interpretive and technical prowess has kept him in great demand internationally. His performance itinerary has recently taken him to Sweden, Brazil, Hong Kong, Australia, Hungary and the United Kingdom. During the 2013-14 season, he performed with the orchestras of Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Cleveland. He has given recitals in Montreal, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Kansas City, culminating in a Carnegie Hall program in February that featured works by Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin, and excerpts from his own recent recording of the works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. He has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Iceland Symphony (at the Kennedy Center as part of its Nordic Festival) and the orchestras of Dallas, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston and Baltimore.

Ohlsson was featured in a documentary, “The Art of Chopin,” co-produced by Polish, French, British and Chinese television stations, and in a DVD of his performance of the two Chopin concerti. In addition to cycles of the complete works for piano in New York, London, Paris and Toronto, Ohlsson has performed all-Chopin programs at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals, as well as appearances in Taipei, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney.

An avid chamber musician, Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takacs and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. With violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. He has appeared in recital with artists Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman and Ewa Podles.

Ohlsson has recorded for the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hanssler, Nonesuch, Telarc and Virgin Classics labels. His 10-disc set of the complete Beethoven sonatas for Bridge Records has garnered critical acclaim and a Grammy Award for the set’s third volume. In 2008, Hyperion re-released his 16-disc set of the complete works of Chopin. More recently, Hyperion released a disc of all the Brahms’ piano variations and “Goyescas,” by Enrique Granados, and music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. The latest CDs in his ongoing association with Bridge Records are “Close Connections,” a recital of 20th-century pieces, and two CDs of works by Liszt. 

A native of White Plains, New York, Ohlsson began piano studies at the age of 8 and entered The Juilliard School at age 13. Although he won first prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montreal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal, which brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. His musical development has been influenced by a succession of distinguished teachers, most notably Claudio Arrau, Olga Barabini, Tom Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhevinne and Irma Wolpe.

The prize is made possible by a generous gift from Jean Gimbel Lane and the late Honorable Laurence W. Lane Jr. Jean Gimbel Lane is a 1952 graduate of Northwestern University who majored in art history. For more information on the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize, visit Bienen School of Music.

Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music also recently announced that Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen was the recipient of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, a $100,000 biennial award established in 2004.

For more information on Northwestern University’s School of Music visit Bienen School of Music