Paul Crossley has for more than 25 years been internationally recognised for his brilliant technical and artistic command in an enormous repertoire of piano music. As well as performing the great solo and concerto classics of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, he has introduced a remarkable range of new music from many countries.
Paul Crossley was born in 1944. He studied with Fanny Waterman before going to Paris where he spent inspirational times studying with Messiaen and his wife Yvonne Loriod. This was a seminal experience, culminating in his winning the Messiaen Piano Competition. His acclaimed mastery of the elusive styles and sounds of the French repertoire flowered at this time.
In 1973, Paul Crossley gave the world premiere of Tippett’s 3rd Piano Sonata, and overnight he achieved international recognition as one of the major pianists of our time. Quickly he became established as a multi-talented, highly eclectic artist. As a soloist he premiered many more important new works by major composers including Tippett, Henze, Takemitsu, Maw, Berio, Adams, Lindberg and Benjamin, and he began to record and perform the complete solo piano repertory of composers as diverse as Ravel, Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Poulenc, Janácek and Tippett. His recordings became contemporary yardsticks of interpretation of those works. As a duo-partner he played with leading instrumentalists, notably the violinist Arthur Grumiaux. As a broadcaster he began a remarkable career as writer and presenter of a series of ambitious television documentaries about leading 20th century composers, followed by programs about Liszt and Ravel. As Artistic Director he was in charge of the London Sinfonietta from 1988 to 1994, shaping and overseeing its programmes and choice of artists.
He has won major recording awards: the Diapason d’Or for the complete solo piano works of Ravel and Tippett; the Prix Caecilia for the Berg Chamber Concerto with the London Sinfonietta and David Atherton; the Grand Prix du Disque de l’Academie Française for the Fauré Violin Sonatas with Arthur Grumiaux; the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis for the Lutoslawski Piano Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen; and no fewer than 4 awards for the complete works for piano and orchestra by Stravinsky with the London Sinfonietta and Esa-Pekka Salonen – a Grand Prix du Disque, an Edison Prize, a Diapason d’Or, and a Grammy nomination. His recording of Takemitsu’s Quotation of Dream (1991), for two pianos and orchestra, dedicated “to two pianists, Peter Serkin and Paul Crossley, whom I have respected in long friendship”, won the 1999 Gramophone Award for best Contemporary Music recording. Of late he has extended his talents to include composition, to mounting critical acclaim.
In 1991 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, and in 1993 received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.