Pianist Piers Lane possesses a vast repertory of solo, chamber, and concertante works, which he has performed in more than 40 countries and on over 50 recordings. While he plays many standards by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninov, he is unafraid to perform works by little-known composers. He has made numerous recordings in the Romantic Concerto Series for the Hyperion label, performing concertos by the likes of Stanford, Parry, Sinding, Alexander Dreyschock, and other neglected composers. Besides Hyperion, Lane has recorded for EMI, Danacord, Chandos, and other major labels.
Lane was born in London on January 8, 1958, and was raised in Brisbane, Australia. His parents were both pianists, and young Piers showed rare talent early on. At age 12, he gave a broadcast recital over Australia’s ABC Radio. Lane studied piano at the Brisbane Conservatorium with Nancy Weir. In 1977, he entered the Sydney International Piano Competition, and while he did not finish among he top prize-winners, he was named Best Australian Pianist. He later studied with Bela Siki at the University of Washington, and at London’s Royal College of Music, where his teachers included Yonty Solomon and Kendall Taylor. While making London his home, Lane steadily built his career in the 1980s. The Royal Overseas League named him Outstanding Musician of the Year in 1982. He made an acclaimed tour of Latin America in 1989, and that same year became professor of piano at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music.
His tendency to take risks has spilled over even into major concert appearances: at his 1991 Wigmore Hall recital, he performed two Schnittke works, Variations on a Chord and Improvisations and Fugue, and at his 2006 appearance at Lincoln Center with the American Symphony Orchestra, Lane played the lengthy and rarely heard Bliss Piano Concerto. In the chamber realm, Lane has regularly collaborated with violinist Tasmin Little, cellist Alexander Baillie, and clarinetist Michael Collins. Lane made numerous major concert tours throughout the 1990s as his recordings were also drawing notice, like the complete Scriabin etudes (1993) and the complete Saint-Saëns etudes (1998), both on Hyperion. Lane made over 100 appearances on BBC Radio 3, most notably as the presenter and writer of the ambitious 54-part broadcast series The Piano.
In the new century, Lane has continued apace with successful major debuts and recordings. His 2004 debut at Lincoln Center led to his acclaimed return concert in 2006 with the Bliss concerto. In 2007, Lane accepted the post of artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, holding this position until 2017. He served in the same capacity for the Myra Hess Day celebrations at London’s National Gallery from 2006 until 2013. At the 2009 events, he performed music by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and other composers as actress Patricia Routledge portrayed Hess in a theater work devised by Hess‘ great-nephew, Nigel Hess. The event was so successful that further performances by Lane and Routledge were given throughout England and Europe. Lane was named the artistic director of the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2016. In 2020, he released several albums, including Hyperion’s 81st volume of the Romantic Concerto Series, and he accompanied Little on Chandos’ third volume in the British Violin Sonatas Series.
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