“When one plays a Steinway, there is a warmth and nobility in the sound that is unequalled by any other instrument.”
Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax showed an early talent and interest for music — studying violin and taking piano lessons with his father, who was a coach at the city opera house. He studied at Juilliard after his family moved to New York, and after disappointing finishes in high-profile events like the Chopin Competition and the Queen Elizabeth Competition, Ax withdrew from competing for a time to make his 1973 New York debut, at Alice Tully Hall. The year after, he won the Rubinstein Piano Master Competition, and made his name in the American concert tour included with the success. In 1979 he was awarded the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, which led to a recording contract with RCA Victor.
As a soloist, Ax has demonstrated a particular affinity for the Romantics; nonetheless, his repertoire is among the most diverse of any pianist on the scene today and ranges from the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven to important twentieth century figures like Tippett, Henze, and Hindemith. He is considered by players and audiences alike to be a chamber musician par excellence; his frequent partners in this endeavor include Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma — with whom he has netted three Grammy awards. Ax has also demonstrated an interest in historical performance; he recorded Chopin concerti on a period instrument similar to Chopin’s own. He maintains a busy recording and recital schedule and frequently appears with the world's leading orchestras and at the major music festivals.
Ax has been a Steinway Artist since 1981.