Columbians Ahead of Their Time
"I really hope we can go back to the feeling that applause should be an emotional response to the music, rather than a regulated social duty."

Emanuel Ax (1948– )
Columbia College 1966–70

Considered by critics to be in the first rank of his generation of pianists, Emanuel Ax has been a prominent figure on the classical music scene—as a performer and as a recording artist—since he first came to public attention in 1974. That year, he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, and five years later he received the Avery Fisher Prize for outstanding achievement and excellence in music. Ax has garnered seven Grammy Awards, three for recordings of duo recitals with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. His most recent Grammy came in 2003 for his recording of Haydn's piano sonatas nos. 29, 31, 34, 35, and 49. (Haydn's music has been good to Ax; he won a 1994 Grammy for his recording of the piano sonatas nos. 32, 47, 53, and 59.) Also earning critical acclaim were his recordings of piano concertos by Beethoven, Chopin, and Schoenberg. Ax regularly performs in concert, chamber, and recital settings across the United States and Europe, and at music festivals such as Mainly Mozart, Ravinia, and Tanglewood. In recent years, he has performed and recorded works by twentieth-century composers, including John Adams, John Corigliano, and Peter Lieberson. In a 1996 departure from the classical oeuvre, Ax collaborated with pianist Pablo Ziegler to record new two-piano arrangements of tangos and milongas by Astor Piazzolla.

Ax was born in Lvov, Poland, and was six years old when he began to study piano in Warsaw; his family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1961, and shortly thereafter to New York. While studying at Juilliard, Ax also attended Columbia. In November 2003, he received the University's Alexander Hamilton Medal for distinguished service and accomplishment. Ax was the third musician, after Oscar Hammerstein II (Columbia College 1916, Law 1916–17) and Richard Rodgers (Columbia College 1923), to be so honored.

Honoring Ax
Ax awarded the Alexander Hamilton Medal

Rodgers and Hammerstein
Columbia music makers

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