Malcolm Bilson began his pioneering activity in the early 1970s as a performer of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on late 18th- and early 19th-century pianos. Since then he has proven to be a key contributor to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the “mainstream” repertory.
Bilson has recorded the three most important complete cycles of works for piano by Mozart: the piano concertos with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists for Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, the piano-violin Sonatas with Sergiu Luca for Nonesuch records, and the solo piano sonatas for Hungaroton. His traversal on period pianos of the Schubert piano sonatas (including the so-called incomplete sonatas), likewise on Hungaroton, was completed in 2003. In 2005 a single CD of Haydn sonatas appeared on the Claves label, and in 2008 his first recording on an English pianoforte of Haydn, Dussek and Cramer was released on Bridge Records.
Bilson, a member of the Cornell Music Faculty since 1968, is also Adjunct Professor at both the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. He gives fortepiano workshops at various locations in the United States and Europe, as well as master classes and lectures (generally in conjunction with solo performances) around the world.
An educational video entitled “Knowing the Score” was released in 2005, in which Bilson discusses the question: Do we really know how to read the notation of the so-called ‘classical’ masters? (www.knowingthescore.com). A second DVD titled “Performing the Score”, was released in September, 2011. If we now know how to read notation, how can it be realized in sound? (www.performingthescore.com)
Malcolm Bilson is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, has an honorary doctorate from Bard College and is the recipient of the 2006 James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.