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, on stages such as those of Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (Oxford), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Gasteig (Munich), Musikfest Stuttgart, Scriabin Memorial Museum (Moscow), Sheremetev Palace (St. Petersburg), Bulgaria Chamber Hall (Sofia), Steinert Hall (Boston), and as a soloist with the New Philarmonia Orchestra (USA) and the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto (Italy) performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto.

Born in Madrid, Abel Sánchez-Aguilera obtained his Higher Piano Diploma from the Madrid Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Fernando Puchol and Juan Carlos Martínez. Subsequently he continued his studies with Ya-Fei Chuang, both at the New England Conservatory in Boston and at the Salzburg Mozarteum Internationale Sommerakademie, which he attended for six 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 especially valued 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 Internationale 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.

In commemoration of the centenary of the composer’s death in 2015, Abel Sánchez-Aguilera performed Alexander Scriabin’s complete piano sonatas at Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris). In 2019 he has given the first Spanish performance of Kaikhosru Sorabji’s Toccata seconda per pianoforte (1934), and also the first UK performance of this work since its premiere in 1936. His interest in Sorabji’s music has also manifested itself in his editorial work for the Sorabji Archive, for which he has prepared critical editions of the previously unpublished Tāntrik Symphony for piano alone and Piano Symphony no.3.

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 carried out research on leukaemia in laboratories of Spain and the United States, making relevant contributions to this field. His studies on the drug tamoxifen as a possible treatment for some 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)


 

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