Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953, András Schiff started piano lessons at age five with Elisabeth Vadász. He continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy with Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, and, later in London, with George Malcolm.
Recitals and special cycles — including the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartók — form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas worldwide; the cycle in Zurich’s Tonhalle was recorded live for ECM.
An exclusive ECM artist, Mr. Schiff has recorded works by Schubert, Schumann, Janáček, Beethoven, and J.S. Bach to critical acclaim. The most recent, Encores After Beethoven, a collection of encores performed after his Beethoven cycle programs, was released in 2016. His newest recording — with violinist Yuuko Shiokawa, to be released in October — includes sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, Busoni, and Beethoven.
Mr. Schiff has worked with most major international orchestras and conductors, and in recent years he has performed mainly as a conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca. This season he appears as conductor and soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in addition to more than a dozen recitals in two North American visits.
He served as artistic director of the Musiktage Mondsee chamber music festival (1989–98), and in 1998 he started a similar series, Hommage to Palladio, at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. The recipient of numerous international prizes, András Schiff became an honorary member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in 2006 in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven’s works.
In 2008 he was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal in appreciation of 30 years of music-making at the hall. He has also received the Schumann Prize, International Stiftung Mozarteum’s Golden Mozart-Medaille, and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal; was made a Member of the Honour of Vienna Konzerthaus; and received an honorary degree of doctor of music honoris causa by the University of Leeds in July 2014. In June 2014 Mr. Schiff was knighted for his services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In spring 2011 he attracted attention because of his opposition to alarming political developments in Hungary. In light of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian Nationalists, he decided not to perform again in his home country.
András Schiff's book, Musik kommt aus der Stille, comprising essays and conversations with Martin Meyer, was published in March 2017 by Bärenreiter and Henschel.