Can too much talent be a problem? Rudolf Buchbinder might appear a bit flippant in making a recording of the complete Mozart piano concertos while simultaneously conducting and playing, performing all the Beethoven sonatas in seven days, or interpreting all of Beethoven’s concertos in a single day.
He seems to pull off many things without requiring much effort. “Pope of the Piano” Joachim Kaiser called him “the greatest natural pianistic talent I’ve come across in my life.” And this is also apparent in technical matters. Even in the most difficult passages, Buchbinder refrains from writing fingerings. “There are three types of fingerings: the ones you study, the ones you recommend to colleagues, and the ones you happen on during concerts,” as the Viennese pianist explained.
Which doesn’t mean Buchbinder is careless. Quite the contrary. He puts in a titanic amount of work, according to biographer Michaela Schlögl. He owns a large collection of historical scores and first editions that he studies with pedantic thoroughness. Anything mannered is foreign to him. First and foremost is the work itself.
Buchbinder’s interpretations grow and develop the more often he devotes himself to a cycle. When he plays Schubert, his interpretations are free from any false sentimentality. His early Haydn recordings were groundbreaking. Beethoven has accompanied him all his life. In great masterpieces, Buchbinder explains, there is always something new to discover.

© Rainer Elstner, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • Born on December 1, 1946 in Leitmeritz/Litoměřice

  • 1961: First Prize at the International Competition in Munich, piano trio category

  • 1977: Grand Prix du Disque for the complete piano works of Joseph Haydn

  • Since 2007, Artistic Director of the Grafenegg Music Festival

  • 2012: ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year

  • 2014: The first pianist to perform a cycle of the complete Beethoven sonatas at the Salzburg Festival

Did you know?

  • Buchbinder collects historical musical scores, trinkets, art film videos, and DVDs. He has sold his collection of historical keyboard instruments.

  • Buchbinder has been highly successful as Artistic Director of the Grafenegg Music Festival.

  • Though Buchbinder was born in Leitmeritz/ Litoměřice, he characterizes himself as Viennese through and through. His mother was only in Leitmeritz at the time on private business.

  • Rudolf Buchbinder’s mother had to sign his enrolment book at the Wiener Musikakademie for him, as the five-year-old couldn’t yet sign it properly himself.

  • He gave his first public performance at the age of nine, and two years later was accepted into the master class of Viennese piano teacher Bruno Seidlhofer.

  • Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas are fundamentally important to Buchbinder. He has performed the complete cycle in more than 30 cities.

  • Buchbinder would love to tear down the boundaries between serious and popular music. He himself plays classic songs by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra well into the night.