"playful, open-hearted, a total delight"
"a colourist in love with the infinite variety a piano can produce"
"Tiempo finally unleashed the full force of his pianistic arsenal, leaving his listeners in a breathless daze"
Sergio Tiempo is regarded as one of the most individual and thought-provoking pianists of his generation. He made his professional debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw aged fourteen and soon became internationally renowned for his raw energy and musical versatility, from Brahms to Villa-Lobos and Ginastera.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Sergio Tiempo began his piano studies with his mother, Lyl Tiempo. Whilst at the Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Como, Italy, he worked with Dimitri Bashkirov, Fou Tsong, Murray Perahia and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He continues to receive frequent musical guidance and advice from Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire and performs regularly with fellow-countryman and friend Gustavo Dudamel.
Recent highlights have included an eight-concert tour across US and Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, performing Ginastera’s First Piano Concerto in the composer’s centenary year, a residency with Queensland Symphony Orchestra and his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Further orchestral collaborations include the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Brussels Philharmonic, Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Simón Bolívar Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia, St Petersburg Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Phoenix Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber and Stavanger Symphony Orchestras alongside eminent conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Myung Whun Chung, Thierry Fischer, Emmanuel Krivine, Alondra de la Parra, Ludovic Morlot, Alexander Prior and Leonard Slatkin.
A committed recitalist, engagements have included a sell-out recital debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s International Piano Series, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Wigmore Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie and Edinburgh International Festival as well as return visits to the Oslo Chamber Music Festival, Warsaw Chopin Festival, Music Days in Lisbon, and recital tours in China, Korea, Italy, and South America. Sergio Tiempo performed at the Martha Argerich Festival in Lugano each year, with recital partners including the formidable Mischa Maisky, Nelson Freire, and fellow pianist and sister Karin Lechner.
Sergio Tiempo has made a number of highly distinctive and acclaimed recordings. On EMI Classics, he recorded Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit and three Chopin Nocturnes for 'Martha Argerich Presents', and on Deutsche Gramophon he has recorded several discs with Mischa Maisky, including a disc of Rachmaninov which was awarded five stars by Classic FM and the BBC Music Magazine. Sergio Tiempo and Karin Lechner recorded Tango Rhapsody, a new work for two pianos and orchestra by Argentinean composer Federico Jusid, commissioned especially for the duo and the RSI Lugano. Further recordings with Karin Lechner include a disc of French music Avanti Classic entitled ‘La Belle Epoque’ released on Avanti Classic, a label with who Sergio Tiempo recorded his latest disc, entitled ‘Legacy’, in January 2018, and will also release two separate duo recordings with his musical mentors, Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
New York Philharmonic: Esteban Benzecry Piano Concerto 'Universos Infinitos'
David Geffen Hall, Jan 2020
Pounding rhythms, cascading chords, spiralling swirls of fast notes... a dizzying perpetual-motion toccata. Mr Tiempo gave a scintillating and virtuosic performance.
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
The evening’s most rewarding item was the New York premiere of Universos infinitos, a piano concerto by Esteban Benzecry...Pianist Sergio Tiempo, Benzecry’s fellow Argentine, gave an inspired reading, showing in this first movement complete comfort with the virtuosic demands of the part, but also finding moments to pull back and draw whispering phrases out of the instrument... [In “Ñuque Cuyen] an airy texture accompanies the flowing lines of the solo part, which Tiempo played with a breathing freedom, delicately and thoughtfully interweaving his voices... [the] thrilling finale calls to mind the close of Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, ending in a flash of light and a blazing chordal progression in the solo part.
Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review
This is an absolutely outstanding composition, undoubtedly the most engaging and satisfying new piano concerto I have heard from a living composer. Tiempo played it with absolute commitment and an extraordinary range of touch, sometimes creating hallucinatory dreamscapes of notes, sometimes hitting an individual key so hard you could hear the note distorting slightly, and integrating percussive effects like double elbow clusters and slaps on the bass strings without seeming affected.
David Wolfson, Bachtrack ****
The mostly restless piece is a bravura challenge for the pianist...The soloist, the young and fearless Sergio Tiempo, dispatched the virtuosic demands of the part with remarkable ease. In the mystical, dream-like slow movement, ‘Ñuque Cuyen’ (Mother Moon), he played the flowing solo lines with great delicacy and tenderness. In the whirlwind-paced closing toccata, ‘Willka Kuti’’ (Return of the Sun), his furiously energetic playing most effectively depicted the dance rhythms of the Ayamará and Guaraní ethnic groups gathering to celebrate the start of a new agricultural cycle.
Susan Stempleski, Classical Source
Frankfurter Museumsorchester: Rachmaninov 'Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini'
Alte Oper / November 2019
The Venezuelan pianist Sergio Tiempo played with an open, virtuosic, and agitated driving force, without missing even the smallest of notes, setting itself apart from the more introverted interpretations of the same work.
Axel Zibulski, Frankfurter Allgemeine
The phenomenal pianist Sergio Tiempo, from Venezuela, formed a dream team with conductor Alexander Prior. The two made all aspects of the work their own, with a swirling, percussive but also subtle shape. At the same time, it was completely unforced, sparkling and crystalline. Rachmaninov's ideas were exposed , broken down with with rapidly changing perspectives. Tiempo and Prior - remember these names.
Bernhard Uske, Frankfurter Rundschau
Sergio Tiempo has without a doubt immensely powerful reserves of showmanship, which seem to me to favour soft lyricism and the elegiac main features of the work...with a highly virtuosic colour palette, Tiempo impressed especially in Variation No. 6 through his organic and stylish tempo changes.
It was fascinating to see the intensity which with the artist manoevred from dramatic climaxes to brilliant pathos, and with sparkling lustre and an elastic cantabile in Variations 11 and 12 to name but a few, the spirited pianist seemed to play these as a nostalgic swansong, full of melancholy even in the less expressive passages, gave us emotional depths and lyrical elegies.
Gerhard Hoffmann, Online Merker
Los Angeles Philharmonic: Esteban Benzecry Piano Concerto 'Universos Infinitos' World Premiere
Walt Disney Concert Hall, October 2019
The concerto is dedicated to the virtuoso Venezuelan pianist Sergio Tiempo, who played it from memory, which seemed an impossibility. A catapulting Tiempo almost never stops for 30 minutes. The Steinway is subject to all you might ever want to subject it to. Phenomenal runs. Tone clusters banged out with the elbows. Percussive playing of the strings inside the instrument. Tiempo somehow made the impossible possible.
Mark Swed, LA Times
Dudamel’s performance of Universos infinitos achieved a combination of expansive musical imagination and when-worlds-collide momentum. And Tiempo played it with much virtuosic frazzle-dazzle...It’s a work that deserves a place in the contemporary repertory, though it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Tiempo being able to display its full range of fierce, take-no-prisoners dynamics.
Jim Farber, San Francisco Classical Voice
Boston Symphony Orchestra: Ravel Piano Concerto
Boston Symphony Hall, April 2019
When I last heard Sergio Tiempo play, he was a teenager. I thought then that he was one of the greatest talents of his generation. He had everything: taste, tone, technique, temperament and intelligence. I finally got a chance to hear him again and my opinion hasn't changed. At 47, he remains one of the best pianists alive. His performance of Ravel's Concerto in G major with the Boston Symphony surpassed every live and recorded version of the piece I've ever heard. The encores made me desperate to hear him again.
Stephen Wigler, International Piano June 2019
Through the lushness of the orchestra, pianist Sergio Tiempo's phrases glistened with a pearly sheen, manifesting with nonchalant loveliness. The slower second movement took a prayerful, introspective tack...from there it was an all-out gymnastic Presto to the end, and Ginastera's roaring Danza del gaucho matrero came as an encore in lieu of the canceled concerto. With luck, Symphony Hall will see Tiempo again.
Zoe Madonna, The Boston Globe
A vigorously robust interpretive playing of the Ravel. Tenderness of remarkable delicacy and immediacy he adeptly called up as savorable 'moments'...The Allegramente thrilled.
David Patterson, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Sergio Tiempo's poignant and dynamic interpretation of Ravel was the highlight. The pianist demonstrated an appealingly forceful and secure technique. Delicate and reflective in the exquisitely rendered Adagio, he was full of verve in the jazzier moments of the outer movements.
Susan Stempleski, Classical Source
Würth Philharmonic: Rachmaninov Concerto No. 3
Künzelsau, February 2019
This difficult piece begins quite light-footed as the Argentinian star pianist Sergio Tiempo displays his technical brilliance... One experiences a mature pianist, who brings a fresh approach to Rachmaninov's music. Tiempo masters the fast passages with a playful lightness and elegance... he carries us away with this work.
Andreas Dehne, Heilbronner Stimme
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Residency: 'Soloists and Spontaneity'
Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane, August 2018
Sergio Tiempo was sensational in Rachmaninov’s colossal Third Piano Concerto... [he] had the virtuosic challenges nailed yet consistently directed towards pathos. Demanding though the big and scampered chordal flurries were, the clarity of the melodic line, accents and harmonic nuance was superb. Meaning flowed through Tiempo’s fingertips and never more so than in the light and feathery tender passages. His charismatic persona and luminous exploitation of the Concerto’s mood swings ensnared the audience who were swept up in Tiempo’s insightful pianistic might from start to finish.
Gillian Wills, Limelight Magazine
Fundación Beethoven recital with Natalie Clein
Teatro Municipal de Las Condes, Chile / 29 May 2018
Natalie Clein and pianist Sergio Tiempo demonstrated outstanding qualities, and collaborated well in the recital. Praiseworthy was the refreshing repertoire selected... Beautiful music, moments of sublime lyricism contrasting with energetic, exaggerated and sarcastic passages, in the hands of this prominent pianist, made the Shakespearian characters [of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet piano transcriptions] come to life [and] the Rachmaninov cello and piano sonata was a triumph... Natalie Clein and Sergio Tiempo, as well as being excellent musicians, had an angelic, magical aura on stage, and a mutual understanding, communicating their musical enjoyment to the audience.
El Mercurio, Jaime Donoso A.
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Residency: 'An Emotional Rollercoaster'
Queensland Symphony Orchestra, April 2018
To say that Sergio Tiempo, the orchestra’s current artist-in-residence, is an exciting player is an understatement. His take on Ginastera’s blistering First Piano Concerto with its folksy intent, dancerly currents and pointy challenge was extraordinary. In the cadenza of the first movement, the brass interacted with Tiempo’s fiery figurations with aplomb. The pianist’s seamless shifts between tenderness and fury, incisive commentary and treacherous chases up and down the length and breadth of the piano in the variations dovetailed superbly with a precision powered orchestra. His thrilling prowess in theToccata Concertata with its slashed, punched and ferociously crunched rhythm was breathtaking...this concert was unforgettable, a stunner.
Gillian Wills, Limelight Magazine *****
Solo recital recording: 'Legacy'
Avanti Classic, January 2018
Tiempo is at his most irrepressibly original in the Piazzolla and Ginastera works, where his alternately impetuous and relaxed pianism is given full rein. Both showcase his remarkably adroit repetitions of both single notes and chords. Subtle touch and brightly coloured textures characterize the piquantly atmospheric selections from the first book of Villa-Lobos’s A prole do bebe… Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau is most appealing. Tiempo’s enormous resources of touch create textures that seem truly liquid.
Patrick Rucker, Gramophone
Sincere and authentic renderings of music that have a great deal of meaning to the artist in question... Tiempo’s playing is exciting, with plenty of jewel-like poetry and playfulness... For us piano fans, this is the kind of album that will be spun red-hot and devoured avidly on a regular basis, such is its verve and life-enhancing atmosphere.
Dominiy Clements, MusicWeb International
LA Philharmonic: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 8-10th December 2017
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featured the flashy Venezuelan pianist Sergio Tiempo as soloist. He’s a lot of fun in the way he dashes off fancy finger work. Every passage offers him something with which to show off.
Mark Swed, LA Times
Sergio Tiempo is the real deal. When a pianist can take a work as familiar as Tchaikovsky’s 1874 First Piano Concerto and turn it into an exciting Olympic event, I’m more than sold. Appearing at a packed Disney Hall this morning (in a program that runs through Sunday), the very cool and jovial Venezuelan was down to some serious business ... The power he provoked from the piano alone was worth the price of admission, but consider his savvy, authoritative, crisp virtuosity: He didn’t overcompensate with the pedal, instead sustaining chords at the end of an arpeggio; he performed some runs nearly twice as fast as I’ve previously encountered, but it never felt rushed; and he’s introspective without laboring on the quieter passages ... This is a very well-balanced program, but you’ve simply got to see Sergio Tiempo.
Tony Frankel, Stage and Cinema
Federico Jusid's Tango Rhapsody with Karin Lechner and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, cond. Alondra de la Parra
Queensland Performing Arts Centre, August 2017
The pianists show off virtuosity and dazzling technique around the passions displayed in the narrative [...] Clever and beautifully presented with each artist in total control, this was a brilliant piece of showmanship from two fine young pianists who gave us an entirely fresh way to look at composition and delivery. They followed it with a stunning encore of a skilfully freestyled variation on Paganini’s Variations for two pianos which was perfectly played and technically assured.
Suzannah Conway, Limelight Magazine ****1/2
The onstage tantrums, sulking, and mid-performance frock change are all part of the act, none of which distracts from the virtuosity of the brother-and-sister pianists Sergio Tiempo (a regular with QSO) and Karin Lechner.
Kartin Buzacott, The Australian
Ginastera Piano Concerto No.1
Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (March 2016)
[The] drama was brilliantly realised with the extraordinary Sergio Tiempo at the keyboard [...] Tiempo’s performance was astonishing by its combination of unbuttoned wildness and fastidious precision.
Michael Church, The Independent *****
Best of all was the rare performance of Alberto Ginastera’s First Piano Concerto [...] Dudamel was joined by his fellow Venezuelan Sergio Tiempo, an astonishing soloist who played with fearless attack and commanded the complex score from memory.
John Allison, The Telegraph
The massive solo part, fearlessly played by Sergio Tiempo, ranges from hauntingly jazzy bits to great bursts of keyboard colour that the Venezuelan pianist seemed born to reveal.
Mark Swed, The LA Times
Ginastera’s Piano Concerto No. 1 has a fiendish solo part that the undaunted Sergio Tiempo dispatched with fierce control.
Neil Fisher, The Times
The Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera’s rarely heard first piano concerto [was] played with authoritative dexterity by Sergio Tiempo.
Martin Kettle, The Guardian ****
Sergio Tiempo played with grand vivacity.
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
Beethoven Choral Fantasy / Gustavo Dudamel / Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra / Bogota Philharmonic
The pianist Sergio Tiempo gave a virtuous version of the Choral Fantasy [...] a lively and exciting interpretation.
Liszt and Tchaikovsky with the Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana
(Avanti Classic : 5414706 10382)
Virtuoso glowing, but especially [an] inventor of new sounds: listen how suddenly he transforms his piano dulcimer in the Totentanz of Liszt [...] And in terms of style, [...] could teach Martha Argerich herself.
Jean-charles Hoffelé, ARTAMAG'
Solo Recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Playful, open-hearted, a total delight.
Richard Fairman, The Financial Times
Sergio Tiempo’s Concerto Repertoire
Concerto for Two Pianos in C minor, BWV 1062
No. 1 in C major, Op.15
No. 1 in E minor, Op.11
Concerto in A minor, Op.16
No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, H292
Concerto for Two Pianos in A flat major, MWV O 6
No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, FP 61
No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
Concerto in G major, M. 83
Le carnaval des animaux
Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23