Alexandre Kantorow Receives 2024 Gilmore Artist Award
Kantorow gave his first performance as Gilmore Artist on September 17 streamed live on The Violin Channel
Presented on a non-competitive basis to an exceptional pianist, The Gilmore Artist Award celebrates a profound musician who desires a performing career as a major international concert artist and can make a real impact on the musical landscape.
Announced today by Dr. Pierre van der Westhuizen, Executive and Artistic Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival, French pianist Alexandre Kantorow has been named the recipient of the 2024 Gilmore Artist Award.
On September 17, Kantorow gave his first performance as Gilmore Artist in a special event at the Dalton Center Recital Hall in Kalamazoo, Michigan. You can watch the performance below:
Often seen as the music version of the MacArthur Foundation “genius grants,” the award will give Kantorow $300,000 — including a $50,000 cash grant to be used at his discretion and $250,000 that is typically dispersed over a four-year period of career development.
Hosted by GBH Music’s Brian McCreath, the program includes Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1, Liszt’s transcriptions of Schubert’s Der Müller und der Bach and Die Stadt (from Schwanengesang), and Brahms’ transcription of Bach’s Chaconne for left hand — followed by an onstage conversation with Mr. Kantorow, Dr. van der Westhuizen, and Elizabeth Ostrow, Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee.
"I’m deeply grateful and honored to receive the Gilmore Artist Award. I thank Pierre and the members of the Artistic Advisory Committee for the time, effort and energy they spent in reaching a decision which will change my life," Kantorow said. "For an artist at the beginning of his musical journey, this support feels like such a gift (and that is enhanced by the very surprising way I learned the news!). Taking the next steps will be very exciting and challenging, as I set out to find the right creative musical choices that reflect the prestige and trust which was put in me by the Gilmore Nomination and Award Committees."
Born in France, Kantorow studied with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Igor Lazko, Frank Braley, and Rena Shereshevskaya. At the age of 22, he made history as the first French pianist to win the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition as well as the Grand Prix.
Kantorow is a laureate of the Safran Foundation and Banque Populaire, and in 2019 was named ‘Musical Revelation of the Year’ by the Professional Critics Association. In 2020, he won the Victoires de la Musique Classique in two categories: Recording of the Year and Instrumental Soloist of the Year, and in 2021, he received the Trophée d’Année from Radio Classique. An exclusive recording artist with BIS, this season, he makes his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall on October 22.
“I first heard Kantorow in person in late 2019 performing for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto," Pierre van der Westhuizen said. "His powerfully passionate and charming approach was thrilling in every respect; full of nuance and color. He had a sensitivity that was hair-raising, but massive power when called for. Kantorow remains one of the few pianists working today who leaves me quite breathless and feeling musically fulfilled in every way.
"In all the performances I’ve heard since, I found him inquisitive and musically curious, and he gave the impression that the musical discovery is, for him, a personal discovery and lifelong journey," he continued. "While fast establishing himself in Europe, I’m excited for the spotlight that the Gilmore Award brings to this important artist here in the U.S. and beyond. He embodies every aspect of what we are looking for in a Gilmore Artist, and I am thrilled and honored to welcome him to this select and illustrious slate of pianists who continue to make enormous impact on the musical world.”
Previous recipients of the Gilmore Artist Award are Igor Levit (2018), Rafał Blechacz (2014), Kirill Gerstein (2010), Ingrid Fliter (2006), Piotr Anderszewski (2002), Leif Ove Andsnes (1998), Ralf Gothóni (1994), and David Owen Norris (1991).