Born in Ankara, Idil Biret started to play the piano at the age of three and later studied at the Paris Conservatoire under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger, graduating at the age of fifteen with three first prizes. She was a pupil of Alfred Cortot and a lifelong disciple of Wilhelm Kempff. She embarked on her career as a soloist at the age of sixteen, appearing with major orchestras in the principal music centres of the world in collaboration with conductors of the greatest distinction. To many major festival appearances may be added membership of juries for international competitions including the Van Cliburn, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and Busoni competitions. She has received the Lili Boulanger memorial Award in Boston, the Harriet Cohen / Dinu Lipatti Gold Medal in London, the Polish Artistic Merit Award and the Distinguished Service Medals, the Adelaide Ristori Prize in Italy, the French Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite and the State Artist distinction in Turkey. Her more than eighty records since the 1960s include the first recordings of Liszt's transcriptions of the Nine Symphonies of Beethoven for EMI, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique for Atlantic / Finnadar and for Naxos the complete piano works of Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninov, the three Sonatas of Boulez, the Etudes of Ligeti and the complete Firebird piano transcriptions by Stravinsky, with a Marco Polo disc of the piano compositions and transcriptions of her mentor Wilhelm Kempff. Idil Biret has also recorded the 32 Sonatas and all the Piano Concertos of Beethoven. Her Chopin recordings received a Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin award in Poland and the Boulez recording the Golden Diapason of the year award in France. In 2007 the Polish President decorated Biret with the Distinguished Service Order - Cavalry Cross for her contribution to Polish culture through her recordings and performances of Chopin's music.
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