Biography

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Acclaimed for his “sophisticated handling of the sound” and “stupendous virtuosity”, Abel Sánchez-Aguilera has given recitals in eleven countries of Europe and America (Spain, France, UK, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Russia, USA and Brazil), on stages such as the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (Oxford), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Gasteig (Munich), Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Scriabin Memorial Museum (Moscow), Sheremetev Palace (St.Petersburg) and Bulgaria Chamber Hall (Sofia). He has performed in festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele (2013) and Musikfest Stuttgart (2014, 2016), and as a soloist with the New Philarmonia Orchestra and the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto.

Born in Madrid, Abel Sánchez-Aguilera studied piano with Fernando Puchol and Juan Carlos Martínez at the Madrid Conservatory of Music. Subsequently he continued his studies with Ya-Fei Chuang, both at the New England Conservatory in Boston and at the Salzburg Mozarteum Internationale Sommerakademie for six consecutive years. He has also received artistic advice from Robert Levin, Luiz de Moura Castro, Ilze Graubin and Marisa Montiel.

A laureate of several international competitions, Abel Sánchez-Aguilera has been particularly praised for his interpretation of the modern and contemporary piano repertoire. He was awarded First Prize in the Alexander Skrjabin competition (Salzburg, 2015), First Prize and contemporary music award in the Open Piano Competition (2013), the Prize of the Mozarteum Sommerakademie (2013), First Prize Musik der Extraklasse (Salzburg, 2011) for his performance of Pierre Boulez’s Second Sonata, First Prize (piano category) and overall Third Prize in the Premio Città di Padova (2016), among others.

His programmes have included Scriabin’s complete piano sonatas and Chopin’s complete etudes. In 2019 he gave the Spanish première of Sorabji’s Toccata seconda and the first performance of this work in the UK since 1936. He has made the world première recording of this work for the Piano Classics label, to be released in early 2020. His interest in Sorabji’s music has also revealed itself in his editorial work for the Sorabji Archive, for which he has prepared first editions of several of Sorabji’s unpublished manuscripts (the Piano Symphonies nos. 0, 1 and 3, totalling over 1000 pages of printed music). He is currently preparing the edition and world première of Sorabji’s recently discovered composition Toccata terza.

He has privately taught students from three continents.

Prior to his current full-time career as a pianist, Abel Sanchez-Aguilera obtained a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and conducted research on leukaemia in laboratories of Spain and the USA, making relevant contributions to this field. His studies on the drug tamoxifen as a possible treatment for blood cancers led to a clinical trial currently ongoing in the UK.


“This sophisticated handling of the sound, such knowledge of the style, not getting lost in impressionistic sonorities but highlighting the structural thought. And besides a stupendous virtuosity.” (DrehPunktKultur, Salzburg, 2013)

“[Scriabin’s] Fourth sonata, which dates from his mature period, and the fantastic poem Vers la flamme, one of his last pieces, were skillfully defended by Abel Sanchez-Aguilera, who underlined with subtlety this mixture of sounds and colours.” (Classic Toulouse, 2016)