Conor Hanick


"To say that Hanick had Cage's canny music under his fingers is a serious understatement. I cannot remember another recent account of such suavity and grace, nor one that opposed Cage's opposing impulses more effectively."

-Steve Smith, The New York TImes
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Conor Hanick: Olivier Messiaen, "Le Cossyphe d'Heuglin" from Des Canyons aux Etoiles

Interview: Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Conor Hanick on Boulez

Pianist Conor Hanick is one of his generation’s most inquisitive interpreters of music old and new. With a unique adeptness for contemporary music reinforced by a commitment to music of all ages, Hanick’s interpretations demonstrate a “technical refinement, color, crispness and wondrous variety of articulation that benefit works by any master.” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times)

Although his playing “defies human description” for some (Concerto Net), Hanick’s performances have received wide acclaim, described as “brilliant,” “effortlessly elegant,” (New York Times) “expert,” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “sparkling,” (Strad) and reminding New York Times' Anthony Tommasini of a “young Peter Serkin.” He has performed with conductors Alan Gilbert, James Levine, David Robertson, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Anne Manson, Carlos Izcaray, Jeffery Milarsky, and others, in repertoire ranging from Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and the keyboard concertos of Johann Sebastian Bach to Olivier Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Etoiles… and John Adams’ Century Rolls. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Hanick has performed at the Kennedy Center, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, the Krannert Center, the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern, Kyoto Concert Hall, the Dewan Pilharmonik Peronas in Malaysia, and virtually every prominent arts venue in New York City, ranging from (le) Poisson Rouge and The Kitchen to Alice Tully Hall and all three halls of Carnegie Hall. 

As a fierce advocate for the music of today, Hanick has premiered over 200 works and collaborated with composers both emerging and iconic. Among the them, Hanick has worked with Pierre Boulez, Matthias Pintscher, Milton Babbitt, Heinz Holliger, John Luther Adams, and Charles Wuorinen, in addition to championing music by leading composers of his own generation, including David Fulmer, Caroline Shaw, Matthew Aucoin, Samuel Adams, Vivian Fung, and Christopher Cerrone. As the “soloist of choice for such thorny works” (New York Times), Hanick recently performed Milton Babbitt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall; György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto with Alan Gilbert at the New York Philharmonic Biennale; Pierre Boulez’s sur Incises with James Levine at Carnegie Hall; and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Piano Concerto with the Alabama Symphony. He is currently working on solo, chamber, and concerto projects with Samuel Adams, Nina Young, David Hertzberg, and others. 

During the 17-18 season, Hanick performs at The Clark Museum in the Berkshires (Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories and two new works by David Fulmer); the Ringling Museum in Sarasota (piano music of Luciano Berio and John Luther Adams’ Four Thousand Holes, performed within James Turrell’s Skyspace, Jacob’s Coat); Davies Hall in San Francisco with members of the San Francisco Symphony (Béla Bártok’s Sonata for two pianos and two percussion); Carnegie Hall in New York (new works by Charles Wuorinen and Jonathan Dawe); and Jordon Hall in Boston with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Matthew Aucoin’s Piano Concerto). He also partners with violinist Augustin Hadelich for recitals in Denver, Los Angeles, and Aspen; joins the newly-established American Modern Opera Company, of which he’s a core member, for residencies at American Repertory Theater, Harvard University, and the Park Avenue Armory; and is artist-in-residence at the University of Iowa and Northwestern University, where he will perform György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto with, respectively, the Center For New Music, and the Northwestern New Music Ensemble with conductor Alan Pierson.

Complementing his solo and chamber music work, Hanick also works closely as an ensemble member with many new music groups and chamber orchestras. He has performed with The Knights at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, and on tour with Bela Fleck; the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at the Park Avenue Armory in Heiner Goebbels' De Materie; the Talea Ensemble in the US premiere of Mauricio Kagel’s Sur Scene; and in collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players, Chatter Ensemble, ensembleNewSRQ, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Echappé, and the Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble. 

A sought after pedagog, Hanick has given lectures and masterclasses at The Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Iowa, and, from 2011-2013, was the Iva Dee Hiatt visiting artist at Smith College. In 2014, Hanick became a solo piano faculty artist at Music Academy of the West, an elite summer festival in Santa Barbara, and holds the Jane and Jerry Rocco Chair in Solo Piano.

Hanick completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern and received his Masters and Doctorate from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Matti Raekallio. He is a Yamaha Artist and resides in Brooklyn, New York.