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Emanuel Ax (b1949)

Emanuel Ax’s father worked at the Lwów Opera and it was he who gave Emanuel his first piano lessons. After two years in Canada the Ax family moved to New York, and five years later Emanuel enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music, studying piano for seven years with Mieczysław Munz (1900–1976), a pupil of Busoni. He was helped financially by the Boys’ Clubs of America and the Epstein Memorial Fund, which sponsored a tour of South America for him in 1969. From 1970, when Ax graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, he participated in many major competitions, including the Vianna da Motta in Portugal, the Queen Elisabeth in Belgium and the Chopin in Warsaw. However, it was in 1974 that he won the inaugural Arthur Rubinstein Competition, and it was this win that sparked the beginning of Ax’s successful career as a pianist. He continues to play around eighty concerts a year.

Ax has always enjoyed playing chamber music, often working with the Cleveland, Guarneri and Tokyo Quartets, and the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. In 1980 Ax formed a trio with violinist Young Uck Kim and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and with Ma he has made many acclaimed recordings.



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