Pianist Piotr Anderszewski has developed into an artist seemingly with a taste for highly structured works, most particularly Beethoven's Diabelli Variations.
But that does not mean his performances are dry, academic readings of great works. Rather, he has been praised for his sensitivity and imaginative interpretations. Born April 4, 1969 in Warsaw, Anderszewski benefited from Poland's liberalized emigration atmosphere in the 1980s. He studied piano at the Lyon and Strasbourg conservatories, the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He also attended master classes in Italy with Fou Ts'ong, Murray Perahia, and Leon Fleisher.
The 1990 Leeds Piano Competition was the beginning of his career. There, he performed the Diabelli Variations, then followed that with Webern's Variations. However, in the middle of the Webern, he suddenly walked offstage, forfeiting the competition. He was not having an artistic fit of pique, but rather felt that the Beethoven performance spoke well enough for him. In fact, it resulted in two important invitations: one to perform a solo recital at Wigmore Hall, the other to record the Variations for Teldec. He turned down the offer from Teldec, feeling at the time that a studio recording would lose the spontaneity of a live recording. He began touring in Europe, most frequently appearing in London, and for a time he toured with violinist Viktoria Mullova, also making his first recording with her. His first solo recordings were of Bach, Beethoven, and Webern.
In 2000, he made his American debut and was given the Karol Szymanowski Award for his interpretations of that composer's works. The next year Anderszewski signed a recording contract with Virgin Classics. Finally, he was ready to record the Diabelli Variations, and filmmaker Bruno Monsaigneon documented the process and Anderszewski's thoughts on the work, much in the same way he had documented Glenn Gould performing the Goldberg Variations. Anderszewski's next performed and recorded Mozart piano concertos while conducting from the piano. In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Gilmore Prize, using some of the prize monies to champion the music of Szymanowski. He has organized festivals devoted to Szymanowski in Paris, New York, London, and Lodz.
Anderszewski continued to record for Virgin through the first decade of the new millennium, recording mainstream repertory by Bach and Mozart as well as Eastern European music. A two-disc recording of a live Carnegie Hall recital appeared in 2009. Continuing to rack up major awards, the pianist won an ECHO Klassik Award in 2011, two BBC Music Magazine Awards (one of them for Recording of the Year) in 2012, and Gramophone and ECHO Klassik Awards in 2015 for his debut on the new Warner Classics label, devoted to Bach's English Suites. Anderszewski released Fantaisies, an album devoted to the idea of fantasy in the music of Mozart and Schumann, in 2017, a year in which his recital appearances included those at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Tonhalle in Zürich, and New York's Carnegie Hall.