The American pianist, Christopher Taylor, began his piano studies in his native Boulder, Colorado, under Julie Bees, and has since studied with Francisco Aybar, Russell Sherman, and Maria Curcio Diamand. While pursuing his musical career he also attended Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics in 1992. Numerous awards have confirmed his high standing in the musical world. 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. 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 twelve years. He was named an American Pianists’ Association Fellow for 2000.
Among his generation of pianists, Christopher Taylor stands out as an innovative musician with a diverse array of talents and interests. During the past few years he has appeared regularly in many important concert halls and developed a loyal following throughout the USA and abroad; critics hail him as “one of the most impressive young pianists on the horizon today” (The Washington Post) and “frighteningly talented” (The New York Times). He is known for a passionate advocacy of music written in the past 100 years - Messiaen, Ligeti, and Bolcom figure prominently in his performances - but his repertoire spans four centuries and includes the complete Beethoven sonatas, the Franz Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), and a multitude of other familiar masterworks. Whatever the genre or era of the composition, Taylor brings to it an active imagination and intellect coupled with heartfelt intensity and grace.
In recent seasons Christopher Taylor has concertized around the globe, performing throughout Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. At home in the USA he has appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Pops Orchestra, and has toured with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist he has performed in New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Ravinia and Aspen festivals, and dozens of other venues. In chamber settings, he has collaborated with many eminent musicians, including Robert McDuffie, Robert Mann, and the Borromeo, Shanghai, Pro Arte, and Ying Quartets. His recordings have featured works by F. Liszt, Messiaen, and present-day Americans William Bolcom and Derek Bermel. Apart from concertizing and recording, he has undertaken various unusual projects. Recent examples include: the commission and premiere of a piano concerto by Derek Bermel with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, made possible by a Christel Award from the American Pianists’ Association; investigations into the compositions of the legendary pianist Gunnar Johansen; performances and lectures on the complete etudes of György Ligeti; and a series of performances of the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) on the unique double-manual Steinway piano in the collection of the University of Wisconsin, an instrument whose rediscovery and refurbishment he has actively promoted.
In addition to his busy concert schedule, Christopher Taylor currently serves as Paul Collins Associate Professor of Piano Performance at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He pursues a variety of other interests, including: mathematics; philosophy (an article he coauthored with the leading scholar Daniel Dennett appears in the Oxford Free Will Handbook); computing (he created a compiler for a new programming language); linguistics; and biking, which is his primary means of commuting. Christopher Taylor lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters.