Krystian Zimerman gave his first public concert just one day after his sixth birthday: On 6 December 1962, he played at a St Nicholas’ Day event for Silesian factory workers. His performance was enthusiastically received and was quickly followed by other concerts. Not long after, there were even television reports about the talented young pianist. In the autumn of 1963, Zimerman began studying with Andrzej Jasinski, who not only prepared him thoroughly for a career as a pianist, but also passed on his love of French music.

Winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition

The 19-year-old pianist burst onto the international concert scene with a spectacular victory at the Chopin Competition in 1975. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker just a year after: Under the direction of Herbert Blomstedt, Krystian Zimerman performed Chopin's E minor Piano Concerto. According to press reports, he impressed at this concert with his polished technique, brilliant touch and powerful musical expression. “This young master is a gift to the musical world,” exulted the critic of the Berliner Morgenpost.Until 2003, Krystian Zimerman, who throughout his career has worked with most major orchestras and conductors, was a regular guest of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Under Herbert von Karajan, Seiji Ozawa, Claudio Abbado, Erich Leinsdorf, Valery Gergiev and Sir Simon Rattle, he performed the great piano concertos of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rare performances

From the beginning of his career, the Polish pianist took a critical view of the life of the restless artist. Consequently, his performances are rather rare; he gives no more than 50 concerts per year. As a result of this, the Berliner Philharmoniker had to do without him for a while. After a prolonged absence, the collaboration between pianist and orchestra started up again in the 2012/2013 season. Krystian Zimerman was involved in three of the orchestra’s projects last season: a solo piano recital, plus as the soloist in both Witold Lutosławski's Piano Concerto, which was written especially for him by the Polish composer and which has now been released on CD, and in Johannes Brahms' First Piano Concerto in Berlin and Baden-Baden. This season, Berlin fans can look forward to two highlights with the pianist. On 6 November 2015, Krystian Zimerman gives a piano recital in which he will play Franz Schubert's last two piano sonatas, then in 2016, he is the soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in concerts with the Philharmoniker on 9, 10 and 11 June.