Ashkenazy came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw and as first prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1956; since then he has built an extraordinary career as one of the most renowned pianists of our time and as an artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities and offers inspiration to music-lovers worldwide.
Conducting has formed the larger part of his activities for the past 20 years. He is currently in his final season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has collaborated on a number of significant recording projects and major international tours.
Ashkenazy also continues his longstanding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which he was appointed Conductor Laureate in 2000, with performances in London and around the UK each season. They regularly embark on worldwide tours - most recently to China and Korea - and have undertaken projects such as ‘Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin’ in 2003 and ‘Rachmaninoff Revisited’ in 2002. The latter was reprised in Paris in October 2010.
Ashkenazy holds the titles of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of both the Iceland and NHK Symphony Orchestras. He maintains strong links with major orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, as well as making guest appearances with leading ensembles all over the world.
Ashkenazy also maintains his devotion to the piano, these days mostly in the recording studio, where he continues to build his recording catalogue with releases such as the 1999 Grammy award-winning Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, Bach's Wohltemperierte Klavier and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. His most recent solo releases have included two discs featuring a number of Rachmaninov’s works for piano.