Mark Ainley is an internationally recognized authority on the art of piano playing and historical recordings of great pianists. His clear insights provide important details about the mastery of the pianists of the past and present through his magazine articles, blog and social media pages, CD productions and liner notes, and lecture-demonstrations.
Mark’s work in the field of historical recordings began in his late teens, when his pre-university writing and research on this topic won the admiration of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg. His first CD liner notes, for VAI’s release ‘Liszt: The 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies Played by 19 Great Pianists’, were co-authored in his early 20s with International Piano Archives founding president Gregor Benko, coinciding with Mark’s pioneering work in discovering previously unpublished recordings of the legendary pianist Dinu Lipatti. His internationally acclaimed efforts led to the world premiere award-winning release of over two hours of ‘unknown’ performances by Lipatti, among them piano concertos by Liszt and Bartok.
Mark’s articles about Lipatti for International Piano Quarterly, International Piano, and Classical Record Collector magazines, as well as liner notes for the labels APR, archiphon, and Opus Kura, have debunked myths surrounding the life and art of this legendary musician, and he has received support for his work from some of the Rumanian biographers, diplomats, and producers who have worked for decades in publicizing this musician’s legacy. Mark has also written in both International Piano and Classic Record Collector magazines about the great French pianist Marcelle Meyer, the muse of Le Groupe des Six in 1920s Paris who additionally worked with Ravel, Debussy, and Stravinsky.
Mark has given lectures at the Leschetitzky Society in Tokyo and the San Francisco Conservatory, speaking about Great Historical Recordings in general and about Dinu Lipatti specifically, and was featured on WNYC radio in New York City in 1992 for the premiere broadcast of some rare Lipatti recordings. In September 2010, Mark co-chaired the panel discussion after the screening of a documentary about Dinu Lipatti at the Besancon International Music Festival, and the following month he opened the 2010 Great Romantics Festival with a presentation entitled “Schumann—The Poet of the Piano” for the bicentennial of Schumann’s birth.Mark gives regular salon-style presentations in Vancouver in a series called The Piano Files, each session featuring representative recordings of particular repertoire or a certain school of piano playing, with participants being both trained and untrained listeners.
Mark’s international research has led to meetings with many musical luminaries, among them Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Yehudi Menuhin, Hugues Cuenod, Franziska Ackermann (widow of conductor Otto Ackermann), Stephen Hough (who mentioned Mark’s blog in his own for The Telegraph), Idil Biret, the family of Marcelle Meyer, Lake Como Piano Academy director William Nabore, and legendary artist manager Jacques Leiser.
Mark has most recently written in International Piano about the evolution of Alfred Cortot’s playing as heard through his recordings. Previous articles in International Piano include features about the challenges facing young pianists as related by Jacques Leiser, an interview with British-Canadian pianist Valerie Tryon, and biographical articles about Dinu Lipatti and Marcelle Meyer. Mark has also published an extensive 9-page article about Dinu Lipatti for Classical Recordings Quarterly and an article about recording producer Walter Legge in Clavier Companion. Mark has recently discovered the first known recording of Dinu Lipatti playing Beethoven and has prepared a commemorative website devoted to Lipatti at dinulipatti.com .
Mark is a regular guest lecturer in Sara Davis Buechner’s piano literature classes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. He is available for writing projects such as CD liner notes, articles, and interviews, as well as lecture-demonstrations on a variety of piano-related topics. Amongst his repertoire:
- In The Groove: An Introduction to Historical Recordings
- Dinu Lipatti, Prince of Pianists
- Marcelle Meyer, Muse of Les Six
- The Great Romantic Pianists
- Legendary Chopin Interpreters
- ‘Live, from New York…’
- Fabulous French Pianists
- Unknown Greats
- Off The Record: Rare Unpublished Recordings
Additional topics available on request.
For booking inquiries, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Mark Ainley is one of the most knowledgeable music experts and writers on musical subjects that I have encountered.” – Jacques Leiser, former EMI producer to Richter and manager to Michelangeli
“How could you possibly know what you know at your age?” – Elizabeth Schwarzkopf