Christopher Taylor - Piano
University of Wisconsin - Madison
The past few years have seen Christopher Taylor emerge as one of the nation's foremost musicians. Audiences and critics alike hail the intensity and artistry he brings to the works of masters ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Boulez and Bolcom; The Washington Post, for instance, deems Mr. Taylor "one of the most impressive young pianists on the horizon today," and The New York Times termed a recent performance "astonishing."
Numerous awards have confirmed Mr. Taylor's high standing in the musical world. He was named an American Pianists' Association Fellow for 2000, before which he received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1996 and the Bronze Medal in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where he was the first American to receive such high recognition in 12 years. In 1990 he took first prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, and also became one of the first recipients of the Irving Gilmore Young Artists' Award.
In recent seasons Mr. Taylor has concertized around the globe, performing throughout Europe and in Korea, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. At home in the U.S. he has appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Boston Pops, and has toured with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic. As a soloist he has performed in such venues as New York's Carnegie and Alice Tully halls, Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Ravinia and Aspen festivals, and dozens of others. His first recording released by Jonathan Digital in 2000 featured works by present-day American composers William Bolcom and Derek Bermel. His most recent recording, Liszt's Twelve Transcendental Etudes, was released in 2003 on the Liszt Digital label.
In the summer of 2004 Mr. Taylor returned for the third successive year to the Aspen Music Festival for two concerts, including the Aspen premiere of the Viktor Ullmann Piano Concerto under the baton of James Conlon. During the subsequent 2004-05 season Mr. Taylor performed staples of the repertoire like Beethoven's fourth piano concerto, four different Beethoven sonatas, and Saint-Saens' second concerto, along with less orthodox material like Conlon Nancarrow's complete piano music and the Webern piano quintet. Of particular note was his performance of the Bach Goldberg Variations on the unique double-manual Steinway piano in the collection of the University of Wisconsin.
Mr. Taylor owes much of his success to several outstanding teachers, including Russell Sherman, Maria Curcio-Diamand, Francisco Aybar, and Julie Bees. In addition to performing, he is currently Paul Collins Associate Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He pursues a variety of other interests, including mathematics, in which field he received a summa cum laude degree from Harvard University in 1992; philosophy (he has recently published an article in the Oxford Free Will Handbook coauthored with the leading scholar Daniel Dennett); computing (one project being to create a compiler for a new programming language); linguistics; and biking, which is his primary means of commuting. Mr. Taylor lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with his wife, musicologist Denise Pilmer Taylor, and two daughters.