Who is the best classical pianist alive?

Who would you choose as the best classical pianist alive. Mi list include:

Perahia, Zimmerman, Kissin, Ashkenazy, Pletnev, Pollini, Argerich, etc.

But you can add more to this list.

I leaning towards Pollini as the best today. Do you think there is a better one?
Perahia, Zimmerman, Kissin, Ashkenazy, Pletnev, Pollini, Argerich, They all made their mark in the music world interpreting the giants of the keyboard. To pick which one is the best, would be like picking the most beautiful girl at the playboy mansion? Than again I would not mind being asked to do that.....
Why always this puberty like best - fastest - highest? This may work in sports but never in art!!
I agree to your above list but I think the following are missing: Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang, Volodos, Uchida, Brendel, Hough, Lewis.......and some more.
Whether Pollini is the best depends on the music - f.e. NOBODY plays the Schumann concerto like Grimaud and NOBODY plays Tschaikowsky 1st like Lang Lang. The question if this is THE BEST is obsolete because as I said above - art is above such measures.
Menahem Pressler
My vote goes to Krystian Zimerman. At least he's my favorite of those performing today. I wish he recorded more.
Check out Eldar.
He is 18 and I think he is or will be best pianist alive. Sony records put him on Sony classical but he is playing jazz right now. I saw him live at skullers in Boston with a pianist friend that trained at berkley, He said how can I ever play piano again after seeing what he can do...


Depends what they are playing, my 2 cents.
I saw Eldar and he is a prodigy at his age, but he certainly has a ways to go to be the best. He's ahead of the game though - very amazing at his age. Plays classical and several forms of jazz, but he's a jazz guy.
Earl Wild or Howard Shelley
Can we add Marc-André Hamelin to the list?
As a classical pianist myself I don't think it is justifiable to pick a best. I would just like to extend my gratitude to all off them for their dedication and hard work in achieving the level of play that they have. And for extracting the beauty in the music that we all enjoy listening too. My thanks to all of you!

Sorry...Lang Lang (or is it Bang Bang by the way he plays) is on my "most over-rated" list. And yes I have heard him in person on more than one occassion, not just on CD.

I've heard Kissin twice, once a recital, and once playing a Brahms concerto. Excellent.

Another one I also like (in person again) is Arcadi Volodos.

I've heard Menahem Pressler many many times both solo and with his trio (Beaux Arts Trio). The only person I will go out of my way to hear.

Another favorite live who is probably unknown to you guys is John Lill from the UK. He is a Tchaikovsky winner (1970).

I might be coming at this differently because hearing them live is different than Memorex. They can't monkey with the sound or edit things in or out. I like hearing them raw.
Echo Schipo - they each bring unique talents to the piano. Another to add to your list is Jauna Zayas. Her interpretation of Chopin is beautiful.
Ivo Pogorelich must be mentioned. Please see:

There you have it: Lang Lang is morphing into Bang Bang - a rather ignorant thought - but people are different.
Talking of some won competition: we certainly forgot Ivo Pogorelich on the list who - as everybody knows - did NOT win and Martha Argerich subsequently left the jury....
Being a pianist myself I only can subscribe to what Czbbcl wrote and what I mentioned in my first answer to this thread.
Yup people are different. I guess all the people on a list I would make of the best pianists, would all be people who are great artists who happen to play the piano.

Lang Lang is obviously technically talented. He can play faster than anyone on the planet earth without making a single mistake. And he has lots of big gestures that add to the illusion. Interesting to watch, but not to listen to for long periods IMHO. I've heard him live in concert twice, and had the same impression both times.


If you think I made Bang Bang up (and therefore ignorant), below is only one of very many articles to use it. He is also known as the Tiger Woods of the piano by others. This will only take him so far. If he is still this way past 30 years old, he'll be all done. It is cool now because he is so young. Later on it will just be weird. He'll be the new Liberace.


Here is someone's personal rating of all Rach 3 recordings available which is a good reference point. It lists a lot of the favorite pianists posted here. It also refers to you know who's nickname Bang Bang again.

So many tremndous artists, those mentioned and others. Two to add: Brendel, Lupu. In recent years I heard each give recitals that were among the most satisfying, utterly captivating, bits of music making I've ever heard.
Angela Hewitt must be added to the list. Her Bach is outstanding as is Perahia's.

I don't know who 'the best' is, but while surfing tonight I hit the Ms. America show-- and I can tell you Miss Georgia is the most attractive classical pianist.
Zoltan Kocsis is probably best when it is about Bartók. Andras Schiff also outstanding pianist.