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Marc-André Hamelin

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Marc-André Hamelin, OC, CQ, (born 5th September 1961) is a French-Canadian classical pianist and composer.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Hamelin began his piano studies at the age of five, and was nine years old when he won the top prize in a Canadian music competition. His father, a pharmacist by trade who was also a keen pianist, introduced him to the works of Alkan, Godowsky, and Sorabji when he was still very young. His principal teachers were Yvonne Hubert, Harvey Wedeen, and Russell Sherman; he studied at the Ecole Vincent d’Indy in Montréal and then at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He has made recordings of a wide variety of composers with the Hyperion label. His recording of the complete Godowsky Studies on Chopin’s Études won the 2000 Gramophone Instrumental Award. He is well known for his attention to lesser-known composers especially of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Leo Ornstein, Nikolai Roslavets, Georgy Catoire, Charles Ives), and for performing difficult works by pianist-composers such as Leopold Godowsky, Charles-Valentin Alkan, and Kaikhosru Sorabji.

Hamelin is also the composer of several works, including a projected set of twelve piano études in minor keys, of which nine are completed. The twelfth in the cycle, a Prelude and Fugue, has been published by Doberman-Yppan, a cycle of seven pieces, called “Con Intimissimo Sentimento”, was published (with a recording by Hamelin) by Ongaku No Tomo Sha, and a transcription of Zequinha de Abreu’s “Tico-Tico No Fubá” has been published by Schott Music.

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