Đặng Thái Sơn (born July 2, 1958 in Hanoi, Vietnam) is a Vietnamese Canadian classical pianist. He was the Gold Medalist of the Tenth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland in 1980. It was the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist.
Dang Thai Son has received particular acclaim for the sonority and poetry in his interpretations of music of Chopin and the French repertoire.
Dang began studying the piano in Hanoi with his mother, Madame Thai Thi Lien, then a professor at the Vietnam National Academy of Music. He was discovered by a Russian pianist, Isaac Katz, on a visit to Vietnam in 1974, who helped him to pursue his advanced training at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. In Moscow, he studied with Vladimir Natanson, a pupil of Samuil Feinberg, and subsequently with Dmitri Bashkirov.
He was awarded the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Tenth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, as well as the special prizes for the best performances of a Mazurka, a Polonaise, and a Concerto, although the elimination of Ivo Pogorelić in the third round - leading to the Argentine pianist Martha Argerich quitting the jury in protest - somewhat overshadowed Dang's award.
Dang has performed in more than 40 countries and on concert stages such as Lincoln Center, Barbican Center (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Herculessaal (Munich), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Sydney Opera House (Sydney) and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Dang has been featured with orchestras including the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Oslo Philharmonic, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Hungarian State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Russian National Symphony, as well as Virtuosi of Moscow, Sinfonia Varsovia, Vienna Chamber, Zurich Chamber, Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and many more. He has also appeared under the direction of world-class conductors, from Sir Neville Marriner and Pinchas Zukerman to Mariss Jansons, Paavo Järvi, Iván Fischer, Frans Brüggen, Vladimir Spivakov, Dimitri Kitaenko, James Loughram, Jiri Belohlavek, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Pavel Kogan, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Sakari Oramo, and John Nelson.
In the field of chamber music, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, the Smetana String Quartet, Barry Tuckwell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pinchas Zukerman, Boris Belkin, Joseph Suk, Alexander Rudin, and played duo-piano with Andrei Gavrilov.
Other career highlights include a New Year's Day concert (1995) where he shared the stage with Yo Yo Ma, Seiji Ozawa, Kathleen Battle, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich, in a major international event produced by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK; in January 1999, a Gala-concert opening the Chopin year, where he was the only foreign artist invited to appear as soloist with the Warsaw National Opera Theatre Orchestra; concerts in Isaac Stern's last festival in Miyazaki, Japan in 2001, which included three performances with Pinchas Zukerman; a special performance in 2005 as the only guest artist at the Opening Gala Concert of the XVth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he was also a member of the jury; and on Chopin's 200th Birthday, March 1, 2010, he played at the Gala Concert the Concerto in f-minor with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under the direction of Frans Brüggen at the Warsaw National Opera Theatre.
Dang Thai Son is frequently invited to give master classes around the world - such as the special class in Berlin in October, 1999, where he taught alongside Murray Perahia and Vladimir Ashkenazy, who extended the invitation. Since 1987, he has been a visiting professor at the Kunitachi Music College (Tokyo), and currently, he teaches at the Universite de Montreal (Canada). He has sat on the juries of such prestigious competitions as the International Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw), Cleveland (USA), Clara Haskil (Switzerland), Artur Rubinstein (Tel-Aviv), Hamamatsu (Japan), Rachmaninoff (Russia), Piano Masters of Monte Carlo, Sviatoslav Richter (Moscow), C. Bechstein (Germany), and Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Vladimir Viardo (Dallas), and Jeunesses Musicales International Piano Competition (Montreal.)
Dang Thai Son has received the “Doctor Honoris Causa” from the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
He is the subject of the biography, “A pianist loved by Chopin - The Dang Thai Son Story”, published by Yamaha Music Media Corporation in 2003.
He can be heard on Deutsche Grammophon, Melodya, Polskie Nagrania, CBS Sony, Victor JVC, Analekta, and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute recording labels.
Mr. Dang's latest recordings of "Selection of Nocturnes" with the Chopin National Institute in Poland, recorded on a 1849 Erard piano and a Steinway piano are available worldwide.