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Marc-Andre Hamelin (b1961)

Hamelin first studied with Yvonne Hubert, a pupil of Cortot, at the École Vincent d’Indy in Montreal. He then went to America to study with Harvey Weedon and Russell Sherman at Temple University in Philadelphia where he gained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Hamelin’s father was a pharmacist, but also a keen amateur pianist who introduced his son to the works of Alkan, Medtner, Godowsky and Sorabji. ‘He greatly favoured pianists from the first half of the twentieth century: Hofmann, Godowsky, Paderewski, Friedman, all those people. Because that’s what he listened to, that’s what I heard – more so than any contemporary pianist. I think the most beneficial element hearing these pianists provided me with was a sense of freedom they definitely had back then.’ In June of 1975 Hamelin bought his first LP record which was of Ives’s Sonata No. 2 ‘Concord’ played by John Kirkpatrick. By the age of thirteen he was playing the work himself, and by seventeen was playing the Boulez Piano Sonata No. 2. His early years were also spent exploring and playing music by Scriabin, Villa-Lobos, Stockhausen, Xenakis and Cage, and it was not until the late 1980s that he began to fully investigate the repertoire of the late nineteenth century. In 1989 Hamelin was awarded the Virginia P. Moore Prize, the highest honour bestowed by the Canadian Arts Council.



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