Johnson-Prothro Artist-in-Residence, Piano
Pianist Alessio Bax’s quintessential lyricism, insightful interpretations and dazzling facility create “a ravishing listening experience,” with playing that “quivers with an almost hypnotic intensity” (Gramophone), leading to what The Dallas Morning News calls “an out-of-body experience.” First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, he has appeared as soloist with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, Dallas and Houston symphonies, NHK Symphony in Japan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov and the City of Birmingham Symphony with Sir Simon Rattle. In 2013, he received the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes young artists of exceptional accomplishment.
This summer, Bax looks forward to performing at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Minnesota’s Beethoven Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Switzerland’s Verbier Festival, Kentucky’s Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, and Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, where he was recently appointed artistic director for a three-year term starting in 2017. Next season he makes his solo recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall with a program of Schubert, Scriabin and Ravel; gives solo recitals in Spain, Italy and California; and performs with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, in Guatemala, the U.S., and, in fall 2017, at the Fundación Beethoven in Santiago, Chile. He also gives six performances at Japan’s Le Pont Music Festival with Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, and others; tours Japan with Kashimoto before they give a summer recital together at Wigmore Hall; and tours the U.S., both with his frequent recital partner, violinist Joshua Bell, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), culminating with a performance at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Later in the spring, he participates in CMS performances at both Alice Tully Hall and Wigmore Hall.
Hailed by International Piano as “a pianist of refreshing depth,” Bax maintains an extensive worldwide performance schedule, details of which can be seen on the Alessio Bax website. His collaborations reach far and wide as well; he has performed and collaborated on national and international stages with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Andrew Litton, Jaap van Zweden, Hans Graf, Simon Over, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Sol Gabetta, Steven Isserlis, Nicholas Phan, Paul Watkins and Jörg Widmann, among many others.
Bax’s celebrated discography for Signum Classics includes Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas (a Gramophone Editor’s Choice); Bax & Chung, a duo disc with Lucille Chung that includes Stravinsky’s original four-hand version of the ballet Pétrouchka as well as music by Brahms and Piazzolla; Alessio Bax plays Mozart, comprising Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595 with London’s Southbank Sinfonia and Simon Over; Alessio Bax plays Brahms (a Gramophone “Critics’ Choice”); Bach Transcribed; and Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies (an American Record Guide “Critics’ Choice 2011”). Recorded for Warner Classics, his Baroque Reflections album was also a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice.”Most recently he released a solo album of Mussorgsky and Scriabin, joined Chung on her new disc of Poulenc piano works, and released Lullabies for Mila, a collection dedicated to their baby daughter, all on the Signum Classics label.
He also performed Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata for maestro Daniel Barenboim in the PBS-TV documentary Barenboim on Beethoven: Masterclass, available as a DVD boxed set on the EMI label. His performances have been broadcast live on the BBC (UK); CBC (Canada); RAI (Italy); RTVE (Spain); NHK (Japan); WDR, NDR, and Bayerischer Rundfunk (Germany); American Public Media’s “Performance Today”; WQXR (New York); WGBH (Boston); WETA (Washington, D.C.); and SiriusXM satellite radio, among many others.
Bax graduated with top honors at the record age of 14 from the conservatory of Bari, his hometown in Italy, where his teacher was Angela Montemurro. He studied in France with Francois-Joël Thiollier and attended the Chigiana Academy in Siena under Joaquín Achúcarro.
In 1994 Bax moved to Dallas to continue his studies with Achúcarro at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where he and Chung are both Johnson-Prothro Artists-in-Residence. At Meadows, Bax teaches private lessons, conducts master classes and curates various performing projects that include faculty and students.
Bax also serves with Chung as co-artistic director of Dallas’ Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation, created to cultivate the legacy of the Basque pianist and to support young pianists’ careers.
A Steinway artist, Bax resides in New York City with Chung and their two-year-old daughter, Mila. Outside the concert hall he is known for his longtime obsession with fine food; as a 2013 New York Times profile noted, he is not only notorious for hosting “epic” multi-course dinner parties, but often spends his intermissions dreaming of meals to come.