“He is obviously musical from heart and mind to his fingertips” – so remarked the distinguished critic Sir Neville Cardus at the outset of Michael Roll’s remarkable career, which now spans more than 50 years.
On winning the inaugural Leeds International Piano Competition in 1963 at the age of 17, the Sunday Times declared, “No country can be expected to produce many talents of this order”. Since this success, his artistry and deepening maturity has brought continued and glowing praise from public and critics alike all over the world.
Over the past seasons, Michael Roll has appeared with orchestras such as the Dallas Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and Suisse Romande, made consecutive tours of Australia and appeared in major festivals such as the Klavier-Festival Ruhr and the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest. He has given recital and concerto appearances throughout Europe, including such cities as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and London. His recording of the Beethoven piano concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Howard Shelley received rave reviews and was “Editor’s Choice” in the Gramophone magazine.
Born in Britain, the son of Viennese Jewish parents, Roll began his studies with Fanny Waterman at the age of six and was a prolific performer from an early age. He made his concerto debut at ten with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and at the age of twelve, played Schumann’s piano concerto with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Sir Malcom Sargent and at fourteen Beethoven’s third concerto with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir John Barbirolli.
His success at Leeds led to appearances worldwide, working with conductors such as Boulez, Boult, Giulini, Haitink, Masur, Previn, Sawallisch, Sanderling and more recently Gergiev and Steinberg. Orchestras have included the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Boston Symphony orchestras, with whom Michael made his American debut in 1974 with Sir Colin Davis. International festivals have included Vienna, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Aldeburgh, where he performed together with Benjamin Britten. He has also appeared on sixteen occasions at the Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Recent engagements included the Budapest Philharmonic, conducted by Pinchas Steinberg, the Nuremberg Symphony, conducted by Alexander Shelley, a return to the London Philharmonic, conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and his debut with Taiwan Philharmonic National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Shao-Chia Lü among others. Furthermore, he appeared in Wigmore Hall’s London Pianoforte Series.
Michael is married to the Bulgarian pianist Juliana Markova and they have one son, Max, a young actor.