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Top 10 living classical concert pianists? #2646963
05/25/17 01:46 PM
05/25/17 01:46 PM
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Does anyone have a link to a ranking (top 10, top 20, etc) of living classical pianists? I realize any list like this would be extremely subjective, but what ranking of artists isn’t? ;-) Most pianist rankings I find online include non-living pianists or they include other genres of music – pop artists, jazz, etc. I’m only looking for classical pianists.

Also, feel free to include your own ranking!


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2646973
05/25/17 02:06 PM
05/25/17 02:06 PM
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Here's my list.
It wasn't very hard to come up with it, although if other people mention some other pianists I might agree that they should come in before some of the ones I mentioned.

BTW: I mostly mean this just according to general reputation, not by my own judgment, except to the extent that judgment inevitably is involved in perceiving general reputations. smile

Nor do I mean that the ones who are higher are necessarily "better" than ones who are lower. I'm talking about general reputations, including how well-known they are (which gives 'points' to someone like Lang Lang).

To be clear: It's not just according to how well known they are. Like, if it were, Lupu wouldn't be nearly that high, and Lang Lang would be much higher.

1 Martha Argerich
2 Evgeny Kissin
3 Alfred Brendel
4 Radu Lupu
5 Mauricio Pollini
6 Emanuel Ax
7 Mitsuko Uchida
8 Richard Goode
9 Lang Lang
10 Andras Schiff

edit: With the benefit of Who's list, I'd add Perahia (at #6) and move the others down a slot.

BTW, main difference between his list and mine, I think:
He's going younger, I'm going older.

.....and seeing the later posts:

I would definitely sneak Hamelin and Sokolov into the top 10.
Which would seem to leave out Lang Lang.

No can do. That would be ignoring "noted-ness."
On the other hand I can't see bumping any of those others out of the top 10.....some would feel OK bumping Uchida and/or Goode. I wouldn't.

Last edited by Mark_C; 05/25/17 05:16 PM.
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2646974
05/25/17 02:07 PM
05/25/17 02:07 PM
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No particular order:

Pollini
Zimerman
Andsnes
Perahia
Brendel
Argerich
Trifonov
Grosvenor
Kissin
Pletnev

Apologies to anybody mispelled, dead, or a little too young (for such an accolade). ha


WhoDwaldi
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2646991
05/25/17 03:08 PM
05/25/17 03:08 PM
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Here's my list (not in order):

-Marc Andre Hamelin
-Sergei Babayan
-Daniil Trifonov
-Maurizio Pollini
-Krystian Zimerman
-Martha Argerich
-Murray Perahia
-Mitsuko Uchida
-Evgeny Kissin
-Stephen Hough

Though, I think if I were to make a list of the 10 greatest living pianists in terms of technique, my list would be quite different.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647013
05/25/17 04:00 PM
05/25/17 04:00 PM
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Only ten? Oh, well, here's a list of that many, culled pretty randomly from a much larger, unranked group of names that come to mind when I think of classical pianists who I think are usually worth hearing (and that's about as far as I want to go with the ranking and rating thing) -

Uchida
Aimard
Goode
Pletnev
Haefliger
Freire
Osborne
Serkin
Ax
Lupu

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647021
05/25/17 04:19 PM
05/25/17 04:19 PM
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Of course, as soon as I had posted a list of ten, I thought of ten more that could just as easily have been on my first list -

Argerich
Ohlsson
Denk
Sokolov
Sudbin
Zimerman
Levit
Andsnes
Mustonen
Bavouzet

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647028
05/25/17 04:39 PM
05/25/17 04:39 PM
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East Coast, USA
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Hamelin
I am not sure of the others, they all have their areas where they shine, but I have to put Hamelin first, his technique is fantastic, and he never shies away from performing something totally unheard of, and when he does, I have never ran across a recording where I felt it was a bad interpretation.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647029
05/25/17 04:48 PM
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I dislike the designation "Top 10" (reminds me of pop charts.....). Therefore my list is of the ten pianists I'd make an effort to go to listen, live in concert:

Mikhail Pletnev
Krystian Zimerman
Lang Lang
Benjamin Grosvenor
Maurizio Pollini
Martha Argerich
Grigory Sokolov
Daniil Trifonov
Andrei Gavrilov
Sergio Tiempo

What they have in common is that their playing styles are all individualistic and immediately recognizable, and they are all great technicians. Boring Urtext pianists and technicians with no individuality don't get into my list.

I want to hear music (great or not-so-great) played with great panache, as well as poetry and plenty of dazzle where appropriate. I really don't care if they cross all the t's or dot all the i's or observe all the markings that are indicated in the score, or whether they use the latest scholarly Urtext edition. I want to hear pianists who have the courage of their convictions, even if (especially if) they provoke as well as enthral in equal measure. Classical music is for the here and now, not for museum curators, and I only visit museums to see the dinosaurs, who are tone deaf (so I've heard....... wink ).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647062
05/25/17 06:41 PM
05/25/17 06:41 PM
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Barenboim is not on anyone's list?


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Working on:
Bach French Suite no. 2 mvt. 4
Debussy Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Field Nocturne no. 10
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647066
05/25/17 07:01 PM
05/25/17 07:01 PM
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Zimerman
Argerich
Volodos
Pollini
Perahia
Ranki
Blechacz
Yundi Li
Kissin
Uchida

My choice for the best living in no particular order.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647069
05/25/17 07:11 PM
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Vladamir Ashkenazy ( can't believe not mentioned!)
Evgeny Kissin
Grigory Sokolov
Ivo Pogorelich
Krystian Zimerman
Benjamin Grosvenor
Andras Schiff
Nikolai Lugansky
Maurizio Pollini
Nelson Freire
Murray Perahia


So many others that I really enjoy that are underrated and didn't benefit from youtube and marketing.

Last edited by Miguel Rey; 05/25/17 07:12 PM.



Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647070
05/25/17 07:13 PM
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Even though he's insane today, I'd add Pogorelich.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: XenondiFluoride] #2647076
05/25/17 07:40 PM
05/25/17 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by XenondiFluoride
Hamelin
I am not sure of the others, they all have their areas where they shine, but I have to put Hamelin first, his technique is fantastic, and he never shies away from performing something totally unheard of, and when he does, I have never ran across a recording where I felt it was a bad interpretation.



I just saw Hamelin in concert ~ 3 weeks ago and it was an amazing experience. He displayed such a range of colors, which, coupled with his near unparalleled technique, made for a very memorable night. And, as you mentioned, he performed a Feinberg sonata ( a composer I'd never heard of) which ended up being one of my favorites of the night.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: Qazsedcft] #2647086
05/25/17 08:10 PM
05/25/17 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Barenboim is not on anyone's list?

No.

But this is all merely personal opinion, and you're welcome to submit a list with his name on it if you feel he belongs amongst the other stellar names mentioned here. wink


Jason
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647165
05/26/17 04:51 AM
05/26/17 04:51 AM
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1. Argenev
2. Pletnich
3. Katsarov
4. Sokoris
5. Voloduev
6. Matsos
7. Grosvenof
8. Trifonor
9. Kissiner
10. Goernin

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647174
05/26/17 07:21 AM
05/26/17 07:21 AM
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My list is based on a single, subjective factor: If this pianist is performing in my area, I would go to this concert, no matter what the program. So here's my list, in no particular order:

Argerich
Hamelin
Kissin
Ax
Yuja Wang
Zimerman
Schiff
Perahia
Volodos
Friere

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: Hank M] #2647293
05/26/17 01:11 PM
05/26/17 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hank M
My list is based on a single, subjective factor: If this pianist is performing in my area, I would go to this concert, no matter what the program. So here's my list, in no particular order:


That's a good way to measure it.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: Hank M] #2647449
05/26/17 08:37 PM
05/26/17 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hank M
My list is based on a single, subjective factor: If this pianist is performing in my area, I would go to this concert, no matter what the program. So here's my list, in no particular order:

Argerich
Hamelin
Kissin
Ax
Yuja Wang
Zimerman
Schiff
Perahia
Volodos
Friere


I agree with both your method and most of your list. I don't know Friere - time to do some research.


Peter
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currently working on Brahms op. 10 Ballades, f-minor sonata and 2nd concerto
Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and E minor Prelude and Fugue
whatever strikes my fancy today.
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: P3T3R] #2647478
05/27/17 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by P3T3R


I agree with both your method and most of your list. I don't know Friere - time to do some research.


To search, you'll need the correct spelling - it's Freire. It's a weirdly hard spelling to remember, I think - I always have to check. His first name is Nelson.

His Brahms 2nd concerto recording is one of the best, IMO.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647501
05/27/17 02:58 AM
05/27/17 02:58 AM
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How very pointless. Music is art, not sports. You can rank sports stars according to their competition results. You cannot rank musicians, just as little as you can rank paint artists, chefs or moms.

From all the pianists I've heard in live performances, these totally blew me away:

Per Tengstrand
Leslie Howard
Murray McLachlan
Peter Donohoe
Zlata Cochieva
Noriko Ogawa

From video clips and recordings I also have loved these:
Michail Pletnev
Daniel Barenboim
Daniil Trifonov

I'm gonna see Sokolov in concert in a few weeks, maybe I will add him on the list too after that.

I know I have left out some "obvious" names from the list above, but they have not made a very lasting impression on me. There are lots of pianists who are very, very good and have a wonderful technique and flawless interpretations, etcetera, but I don't feel the magic in the air. What is "magic", then? Well, it is impossible to describe, you just know it when you hear it. And it is not there just because a certain someone is a famous name. It has to be a personal experience for me.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: wr] #2647520
05/27/17 06:41 AM
05/27/17 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by P3T3R


I agree with both your method and most of your list. I don't know Friere - time to do some research.


To search, you'll need the correct spelling - it's Freire. It's a weirdly hard spelling to remember, I think - I always have to check. His first name is Nelson.

His Brahms 2nd concerto recording is one of the best, IMO.

Thanks for the spelling correction. I would edit my post if I knew how!

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647585
05/27/17 10:59 AM
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I don't want to start any arguments, and ranking is hard anyway, but I do want to give an unconventional answer.

In terms of depth of understanding of the music, knowing how to fit together all the various themes and supporting structures, understanding crescendos and decrescendos and when to accelerate and rubato, finding good balance between parts, and finding good balance between the piano and orchestra, and understanding the meaning of the music, maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

He doesn't perform very often as a pianist these days, but if you get the chance, I strongly recommend going to hear him. His concerts are superb. His Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: phantomFive] #2647689
05/27/17 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
...maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

is Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.

You make a thoughtful point. I have MTT's Gershwin CD -which I have put on the player- and I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

And yet... I would be reluctant to part with Oscar Levant's Preludes or Earl Wild's Concerto. They set the bar very high, and IMO not equaled.

MTT's Mahler recordings at San Francisco have been critically well received, but they have never reached the consensus level of, say, Bernstein or Tennstedt.


Jason
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: Hank M] #2647876
05/28/17 02:31 PM
05/28/17 02:31 PM
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I like your list. This is so difficult because one can think of at least double that of current outstanding pianists, but this list is a good start.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: argerichfan] #2648056
05/29/17 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by phantomFive
...maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

is Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.

You make a thoughtful point. I have MTT's Gershwin CD -which I have put on the player- and I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

And yet... I would be reluctant to part with Oscar Levant's Preludes or Earl Wild's Concerto. They set the bar very high, and IMO not equaled.

MTT's Mahler recordings at San Francisco have been critically well received, but they have never reached the consensus level of, say, Bernstein or Tennstedt.


I won't argue with your ears, but let me give some thoughts based on what I've heard living in San Francisco.

MTT's Mahler is very sharp. The orchestra will change tempos on a dime, almost instantaneously, for example. I would describe the style as very clear and transparent, so Mahler's ideas can be seen, almost as though the orchestra were a mirror you could look through to see Mahler's world. Sitting in the audience during Mahler's 9th was one of the most engrossing moments I've had listening to music, especially during the third movement. It isn't pleasant: Mahler was not happy in those days, but it is existential as all great music can be.

MTT's Beethoven in the last few years has really shone. Again, in the same way, becoming almost transparent so Beethoven himself shines through. I don't think anyone else has gotten as close to Beethoven, as if MTT had stepped aside and Beethoven was there. I can go into more detail on this topic if there is interest.

I should add that I greatly respect Bernstein, and I listen to him often for inspiration and knowledge, but tbh I prefer Ormandy. smile What a great conductor. Both of those are dead though, so it's kind of irrelevant here, I guess.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648125
05/29/17 10:26 AM
05/29/17 10:26 AM
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I saw MTT a lot when he was a young conductor frequently appearing with the Chicago Symphony at their Ravinia summer festival. (Speaking of Mahler, I was there when James Levine made his "breakout," subbing in on short notice for an ill Kertesz, who himself replaced the recently deceased Szell, for the Mahler 2nd -- amazing!).

I liked MTT when he was young, but having seen him conduct Mahler with San Francisco in recent years, I agree that he's grown a lot, and that fine orchestra has grown with him.

If there's a better match of orchestra and conductor today, I couldn't name it.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648175
05/29/17 12:01 PM
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No particular order, just as they are occurring to me.

1. Maurizio Pollini
2. Martha Argerich
3. Menahem Pressler
4. Stephen Hough
5. Murray Perahia
6. Francesco Piemontesi
7. Marc-Andre Hamelin
8. Konstantin Scherbakov
9. Vladimir Ashkenazy
10. Krystian Zimerman

I was going to list Zoltan Kocsis, but he died in 2016.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648216
05/29/17 12:45 PM
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Does Pletnev still perform on piano?


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: ClsscLib] #2648232
05/29/17 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Does Pletnev still perform on piano?

He seems to have returned to the piano in the past few years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydJgpl2OsGs


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: jeffreyjones] #2648345
05/29/17 05:48 PM
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9000 Post Club Member
argerichfan  Offline
9000 Post Club Member
A

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 9,373
Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
No particular order, just as they are occurring to me.
3. Menahem Pressler

Jeffrey, what an odd choice to put in the top ten. Why would that be? I would have thought possibly in the top 100...if even that.

If you compare his recording of the Schumann Op 44 Quintet with Argerich's, well time and time again Argerich freshly illuminates aspects of the piano writing (listen to how she handles the left-hand grace note in measure 103), whereas Pressler is competent consensus business as usual.

Jeffrey, I have always respected your opinions here, but this is a mystery to me.

Reportedly Pressler has been nasty in masterclasses, the typical symptom of a primadonna, but that is another issue.


Jason
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