Born in Polish to Joachim and Hellen Ax, both Nazi concentration camp survivors. Ax began to study piano at the age of 6. At the age of 10 he moved with his family to Canada where he continued to study music, including as a member of The Junior Musical Club of Winnipeg. In 1961 the family moved to New York City and Ax continued his studies at the Juilliard School of Music supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University, where he majored in French in 1970. In 1973 he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. Ax is considered one of the best known concert pianists of the 21st century.
Ax regularly performs duo recitals with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and played quartets with Ma and violinists Isaac Stern and Jaime Laredo, Before the quartet had to disband in 2001. In chamber music, he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Edgar Meyer, and Peter Serkin. Ax is also a featured guest artist in a documentary film. In the 2008-2009 season, Ax’s special projects included a duo recital tour with Yefim Bronfman. Ax has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987, and he has received Grammy awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the L.v. Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Franz Liszt and Arnold Schoenberg, three solo J. Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams’s Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch.
In the 2004-2005 season he also contributed to an International Emmy award-winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. He is currently a teacher on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a recipient of Yale University’s Sanford Medal and also holds an honorary doctorate of music from Yale awarded in May 2007.
Dec. 16-18, 10:00 a.m -1:00 p.m and 3:00-5:00 p.m at the Jerusalem Music Center
(Theme of all masterclasses: Mozart’s Concertos)
Dec. 21, 8:00 p.m: Final Concert at the Jerusalem Music Center
Dec. 22, 8:00 p.m: Concert with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at the Jerusalem Theatre, Henry Crown Hall.