Pierre-Laurent Aimard (born 9 September 1957) is a French pianist. He was born in Lyon, where he entered the conservatory. Later he studied with Yvonne Loriod and with Maria Curcio.
In 1973, he was awarded the chamber music prize of the Paris Conservatoire. In the same year, he won the first prize at the international Olivier Messiaen Competition. In 1977, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he became a founding member of the Ensemble InterContemporain. He made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty, performing the piano solo part in Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie.
Aimard is particularly committed to contemporary music. He was the soloist in several premieres of works such as Répons by Pierre Boulez, Klavierstück XIV by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the eleventh and thirteenth piano études of György Ligeti. One of his most notable recordings is that of the first two books of Ligeti’s piano études. He has also performed the work of contemporary composers such as George Benjamin and Marco Stroppa. In May 2012, he premiered Tristan Murail’s piano concerto Le Désenchantement du Monde.
In addition to his work with contemporary music, Aimard has recorded the five Beethoven piano concertos with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, at the invitation of Harnoncourt. Aimard has recorded for the Sony Classical and Teldec labels. In August 2007, he signed a new recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
In 2009, Aimard became the Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival in England, for an initial contract of 3 years. Aimard is a visiting professor and an Honorary Member (2006) of the Royal Academy of Music. He appears in the 2007 film Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037.
Aimard was featured recording Bach’s The Art of Fugue in the 2009 award-winning German-Austrian documentary Pianomania, about Steinway & Sons’ piano technician Stefan Knüpfer, which was directed by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis. The film premiered theatrically in North America, where it was met with positive reviews by The New York Times, as well as in Asia and throughout Europe, and is a part of the Goethe-Institut catalogue.