Paul Lewis (pianist)

Paul Lewis CBE (born 20 May 1972) is an English classical pianist.[1]

Paul Lewis
Birth namePaul Lewis
Born (1972-05-20) 20 May 1972 (age 48)
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Occupation(s)Classical pianist

Early lifeEdit

Lewis's father worked at the Liverpool Docks and his mother was a local council worker; there were no musicians in his family background.[1] Lewis began by playing the cello, the only instrument for which his school could offer him tuition. At the age of 14 he was accepted by Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, where his piano studies blossomed. His teachers included Ryszard Bakst (at Chetham's), Joan Havill (at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and Alfred Brendel, whom Lewis acknowledges as a mentor.[2] His first international achievement was the second prize at the 1994 World Piano Competition in London.[3] He also won the Dudley Piano Competition[4] and the Royal Overseas League Piano Competition.[5]


Lewis is strongly affiliated with the Wigmore Hall, London.[3][6][7]

Lewis performed all 32 of the Beethoven piano sonatas, on tour in the United States and Europe, between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, in parallel with his complete recording of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi. Each of these CD releases has been included in Gramophone magazine's "Editor's Choice", and in August 2008, volume 4 of the series was awarded Gramophone's "Best Instrumental" recording and "Best Recording of the Year".[8] In July and August 2010 Lewis became the first pianist to perform all five Beethoven Concertos in a single season of The BBC Proms.[9]

In 2015 he succeeded Fanny Waterman as artistic director of the Leeds International Piano Competition, jointly with conductor Adam Gatehouse. He will also chair the competition's jury.[2][10].

Lewis was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), in the 2016 Birthday Honours, for services to music.[11]


Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Norris said, "There is in Lewis's playing a strong physicality, a firm connection between his deep thinking about the music and his articulation of it. He knows and can define its character, and can show how its rhythmic, harmonic and melodic components coalesce. This was playing of intellectual rigour and imaginative vigour."

In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Lewis revealed that his musical guilty pleasure was the 1968 single "Paralyzed" by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy.[12]


  • Harmonia Mundi:
    • Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 19 in C minor, D. 958, Piano Sonata No. 14 in A minor ("Grande Sonate"), D. 784 (Op. posth. 143) (2002) CD ASIN B00005QG1F
    • Schubert. Last Sonatas D.959 & D.960, (2003) CD (HMC901800) ASIN B00008O6EO
    • Liszt: Sonata in B minor (2004) CD (HMC901845) ASIN B0002I746S
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.1 (2005) CD (HMC901902) ASIN B000A5B25W
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.2 (2007) CD (HMC901903.05, 3 CDs) ASIN B000HXDS04
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.3 (2007) CD (HMC901906.08, 3 CDs)
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol.4 (2008) CD (HMC901909.11, 3 CDs)
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Belohlavek (2010) (3 CDs)
    • Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (2011) CD (HMC902071)
    • Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin D.795, Mark Padmore – Tenor
    • Schubert: Winterreise D.911, Mark Padmore – Tenor
  • Hyperion Records, with Leopold String Trio[1]:
    • Mozart: Piano Quartet in G minor; Piano Quartet in E flat (2003) ASIN B00008ZZ3E
    • Schubert: Trout Quintet
    • Schubert: Piano Duets (with Steven Osborne)


  1. ^ a b "Pianist's calm creativity", The Age, 12 May 2003
  2. ^ a b Paul Lewis (18 October 2016), "Paul Lewis: how we're transforming 'the Leeds' to nurture tomorrow's pianists", The Guardian, retrieved 7 January 2017
  3. ^ a b "Paul Lewis" at Harmonia Mundi
  4. ^ "Musical Opinion". Musical Opinion. 5 May 1994 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Matthews, Gemma. "Royal Over-Seas League celebrates 65 years of excellence in the arts". Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL).
  6. ^ "Paul Lewis", a bio from Ingpen & Williams
  7. ^ Jean-Pierre Thiollet, 88 notes pour piano solo, Neva Editions, 2015, p. 55. ISBN 978-2-3505-5192-0
  8. ^ Pappas, Cosmo (16 November 2015). "Leif Ove Andsnes brings unpretentious style to Hill Auditorium". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  9. ^ Prom 16 – Wagner, Beethoven, Dvorak, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 29 July 2010
  10. ^ 'New Vision' announced for 2018 Competition, Leeds International Piano Competition, 18 October 2016, archived from the original on 3 January 2017, retrieved 7 January 2017
  11. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B9.
  12. ^ "Facing the music: Paul Lewis". 9 May 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2020.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit