The famous pianists of our day, like every student passionate about music, seem to be inspired by these names and their prodigious careers: in our digital age, who are the most loved pianists, what genres they play, what studies they have undertaken, which technique prevails nowadays, is the level comparable to that of the musicians of the past? There are many questions that arise when we tackle a topic of this type, questions that can be answered with the piano lessons. For example: do contemporary concert recordings “sell”? Does a Rachmaninov sonata still have a market in today’s world?
Why does it detect the reference to big names? Why is it that almost all young musicians have at least one famous pianist in their hearts? For those who play the piano at high levels or in their free time, it is important to be able to identify with models of musicality and “musical personality” , as well as to perform certain pieces with specific reference to master performances or to draw on the way of working to compose and hear from the best contemporary and classical pianists.
And here, then, is a short article on contemporary pianists, which will help piano students to know who the most famous contemporary pianists are today, in order to be able to analyze their work in concert.
The network offers many possibilities, in this sense, even if it is not possible to go personally to the theater or to a concert hall.
The virtuous contemporary pianists
Young people are often taking piano lessons today who, even by chance, have come to know a famous pianist from Italy or from other countries. Listzt, Schumann, Bach Beethoven and Chopin still have great appeal for today’s young musicians!
The prominent personalities that we will shortly review are famous contemporary pianists, who captivate for the impressive speed and precision of their performances. Their dexterity on the piano is unmatched. They play the most complex pieces with a purity and simplicity inaccessible to most pianists. Their studies, their level, their technique means that they have become worthy performers to approach the major works, also for their great sensitivity, which allows them to give the right expression to each part of a piece.
These famous pianists do justice to classical music composers such as Bach, Tchajkovskij , Rossini, Brahms and Mozart. In one of their concerts we can still enjoy the wonderful art of past eras today.
Just Lang (1982)
At just 35, the Chinese pianist is already at the top of his career!
Renowned for his “theatricality”, Lang Lang has been a guest of most of the world’s leading musical institutions. He also played at the Grammy Awards with Metallica for an incredible 6 minute solo.
Lang Lang is the new little prince of the piano, who started playing at the age of 3 and a half at the Beijing Conservatory. A real talent .
Radu Lupu (1945)
Lupu is an atypical pianist. For example, he doesn’t use a stool but an office chair to play. Likewise, he never registers. He only performs live.
Lupu has garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Instrumental Performance in 1996. He considers himself a “piano painter”.
Yiruma is part of the new wave of piano virtuosos .
Pianist from the age of 5 and then graduated from two prestigious music schools in London, the Korean artist shows a real talent as a composer from a very young age.
Today he is known all over the world for the interpretation of these two famous songs: River flows in you and Kiss the rain .
Sonya Belousova (1990)
Sonya Belousova is also part of the “new wave” of pianists.
Originally from St. Petersburg, she has won numerous international competitions and was awarded by the Russian Ministry of Culture at the age of 13 for her talent, both precocious and exceptional.
He composes but above all improvises , he is able to create a composition from scratch starting from a piece he has heard only once!
He regularly performs in theaters around the world, especially in Russia or the United States. His reinterpretations of the great film or video game classics, with a rare melodic richness, also strike the younger audience .
Yeol Eum Son (1986)
In his early thirties, Yeol Eum Son is already a star of classical music in his country.
The first piano lesson at the age of 3 and a half, she entered the Korean National University of the Arts at the age of 16. At the age of 18, she recorded Frédéric Chopin’s Complete Studies.
Emotional pianist, sensitive but powerful and vigorous, she has collaborated with the greatest orchestras in the world such as, for example, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian Symphony Orchestra.
Over the course of his young but rich career, he has already received many awards and accolades.
Famous pianists also among successful singers
Although of a completely different stature in strictly pianistic terms, they are also talked about by various pianists-singers, pianists-songwriters and pianists-composers, who have marked their era with fascinating melodies, charisma and television impact.
In short, the history of the piano is also made by these contemporary figures!
Elton John (1947)
Elton John has inspired dozens of songwriters and songwriters with his ballads!
Another English! Talent is very present on the island! The fifth Beatles (he was part of the band between 1962 and 1963) is a pop legend .
With over 200 million albums sold worldwide and over 3,000 concerts , Elton John is part of the musical heritage.
Elton John is inseparable from his favorite instrument: the piano.
With 41 awards including 6 Grammy Awards and an Oscar for the song Can You Feel The Love Tonight , soundtrack to Walt Disney’s masterpiece The Lion King , Elton John has been an inspiration to established artists such as Kanye West, Joe Cocker and Queen .
Aretha Franklin (1942)
You can’t talk about the best song stars who are also pianists without mentioning the American Aretha Franklin!
A world icon of jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues.
He ranks third of the most famous African American personalities in history , behind only Martin Luther King and Barack Obama!
She has sold over 75 million records worldwide and has won no fewer than 18 Grammy Awards in her 45-year career .
If you want to hear or discover Aretha Franklin on the piano, we recommend listening on You Send Me or I Say A Little Prayer for you .
Alicia Keys (1981)
With her powerful and inspired voice, her rhythmic melodies with a perfect piano-voice agreement, Alicia Keys is both an excellent singer and an esteemed pianist . Classic training and New York urban culture: an explosive cocktail!
Her debut album Song in A Minor was an incredible success, with over 12 million copies sold worldwide.
We particularly recommend The Diary of Alicia Keys album where you can find piano, rhythm and blues, jazz and soul.
Famous pianists and soundtrack composers
Sometimes people who choose to take piano lessons fall in love with the soundtrack while watching a movie or watching a theatrical show. And they begin to dream of being able to perform it … From what comes what … and here they find themselves wanting to play the piano, to resume the notes that made a film great.
Let’s see which are the famous pianists composers of contemporary soundtracks:
Hans Zimmer (1957)
He is probably the best known composer of the early 21st century, with legendary pieces that made history.
Hans Zimmer began his career as an electronic music composer . When he is discovered by a Hollywood producer, it is the turning point.
He founded the “Media Ventures” studio and composed his first soundtrack in 1989 for Ridley Scott’s Black Rain . He then continued to work on several projects until 1994, the year of his consecration with an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for the Lion King soundtrack .
Inception and its galaxy of actors, USS Alabama , the legendary music of the Pirates of the Caribbean , Sherlock Holmes, Interstellar and the great Matthew McConaughey, but above all The Gladiator remains the greatest success of the American composer with over 50 million soundtrack albums sold .
Today, Hans Zimmer has over 55 films to his credit , making him one of the most prolific composers in history.
John Williams (1932)
If Hans Zimmer is considered one of the greatest film soundtrack composers since the late 1990s, the master in question remains John Williams.
His track record is impressive, with four Academy Awards for Best Original Score and over fifty nominations for a career spanning more than six decades .
Williams is best known for being Steven Spielberg’s favorite composer, for whom he composed the soundtracks of ET ., Indiana Jones , Jurassic Park , Superman and the troubled story of The Jaws . He will remain in the memory of the youngest for having composed the bewitching music of the first three episodes of the Harry Potter saga, but above all for the Star Wars soundtrack , with notes and melodies that are and will remain mythical.
John Williams’ aura goes beyond cinema, as he also composed the anthem of three Olympic Games and played at Barack Obama’s inauguration of the White House in 2008.
Yann Tiersen (46 years)
Yann Tiersen is a French composer who revealed himself to the eyes of the world with the soundtrack of the film The fabulous world of Amélie .
For the record, he’s the one who plays all the instruments on the film’s album . In addition to being a fabulous pianist, Yann Tiersen is also a violinist and accordionist, which makes him a truly complete player .
He composed all the music for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films, but also the soundtracks for Good Bye Lenin and Tabarly .
Yann Tiersen has the distinction of being left-handed, a factor that has always fascinated people, often unreasonably.
Practice his songs during your piano lessons! Study, discipline and commitment could lead you to realize the dream of playing with a great orchestra! Learning to play different genres, improving your technique and a lot of study could lead you to become the future Tiersen!
Ludovico Einaudi (1955)
Talking about cinema and music without mentioning an Italian composer would have been a crime against these two arts, wouldn’t it?
We are talking about the incredible talent of Ludovico Einaudi, born on November 23, 1955 in Turin.
Here is a brief summary of the collaborations that led the Italian pianist to write his name in the pantheon of the Seventh Art in a few lines:
- Almost Friends , by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (2011)
- J. Edgar, di Clint Eastwood (2011),
- Samba , by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (2014),
- It’s only the end of the world , by Xavier Dolan (2016),
If you are curious about the life of famous composers and pianists and you get excited listening to their creations and performances, consider studying the piano seriously! Study the recordings of your favorite composers, choose which of the genres you listen to can do for you … and then start practicing! Maybe you will find that the Baroque era sonata is the genre in which you truly excel! Only study and technique can reveal it to you!