Nelson Goerner was born in San Pedro, Argentina, in 1969. He could read and write by age three and studied piano from his childhood. Goerner's advanced studies were at the Buenos Aires Conservatory, where his teachers included Juan Carlos Arabian.
In 1986 Goerner won the Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Buenos Aires and shortly thereafter debuted with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. While regularly appearing in concert afterward, he continued studies with Carmen Scalcione. With the help of Martha Argerich, he received scholarship monies for studies at the Geneva Conservatory under Maria Tipo. In 1990 Goerner won the Concours International d'Execution Musicale Genève, effectively launching his international career. Thereafter he would make regular appearances at such prestigious venues as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Milan's Sala Verdi, and with major orchestras like the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, London Philharmonic, and Tokyo NHK Symphony. EMI released Goerner's debut album in 1997 to rave reviews, an all-Chopin disc that included the Third Sonata. By the early years of the new century Goerner was a major presence on the international scene. His January 2003 recital of works by Schumann, Debussy, and Stravinsky in London's Wigmore Hall was one of many critical triumphs. A string of successful recordings followed, including his 2005 Rachmaninov CD, on Cascavelle, that included the challenging Second Sonata, and his 2008 EMI recording of Lord's Piano Concerto. Goerner's 2009 appearance at the Verbier Festival in performances of Beethoven and Chopin received rave reviews both at the time and when issued on a Euroarts DVD in October 2010.