Considered one of the finest pianists of his generation, Adam Neiman, who performs at La Petit Trianon Theatre on October 22 as part of the Steinway Society of the Bay Area’s 2011-2012 season, is a sensitive, powerful, world-renowned musician who knew, by the time he was eight years old, that he wanted to be a concert pianist.

“I was eight when I won my first competition,” he says. “The whole thing: being up on stage, the audience, the music, the piano—it was very attractive to a kid and it motivated me.”

Neiman started playing the piano in earnest. At age eight, he was practicing several hours a day. By his teens, that number had jumped to 8, 10 or sometimes 12 hours a day. “I adored music,” he says. “Coming from a musical family, it’s just something that I lived and breathed. When I applied myself, I was always reaching for higher and higher levels.”

As Neiman’s talent and exposure grew, so too did his reputation and accolades. He began taking home top prizes from competitions around the world including the Stravinsky Awards International Competition, the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Competition and many more. Now in his early-30s, Neiman says that of all the award and acclaim, his proudest accomplishment is the breadth of his repertoire which includes over 50 concertos.

“I play pretty much across the board at a consistent level; presenting each composer as well as I can play,” he says. “In the past, some people played everything and played everything well. I decided early on that I wanted to be like that and not just play three composers my entire life.”

Dedicated to educating audiences about composers and the works that he performs, Neiman takes the time to connect with audience members whenever possible.

“There was a time when performers didn’t do much educating,” he says. “They showed up, played and left. You had a public that had already been educated. If we are concerned about audience building for the future, education is necessary. Knowing what you’re listening to is half the battle.”

Celebrating Franz Liszt’s bi-centennial with a solo recital tour, this season sees Neiman lecturing about and performing Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes as well as his complete Piano Concerti in venues around the world.

“Liszt was a total rock star,” he says. “If the legends are even a fraction of the truth, he was probably the greatest pianist of the 19th century. My intention is to demonstrate his range and originality; the range of colors that he can draw from the piano.”

“My modus operandi as a performer is to be the best channel that I can be for the music,” he continues. “In the ultimate situation, the audience should forget who is performing and just be in the experience of the composer.”

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