Pianist Philippe Entremont has had an unusually long and impressive career, beginning in the early 1950s and remaining active well into the first quarter of the 21st century. Entremont is versatile in multiple ways: his repertory is wide, and he has worked extensively as a conductor.
Entremont was born in Reims, France, on June 7, 1934. His parents were both musical; his father was a conductor at the Strasbourg Opera, and his mother a pianist who gave him lessons. Showing talent, Entremont was admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1944, where he won the school's top prizes in piano, solfège, and chamber music. Entremont made his formal debut in Barcelona in 1951, and was soon touring various European countries. On January 5, 1953, he made his U.S. debut with the National Orchestral Association, on that occasion under the baton of Léon Barzin. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Entremont appeared in nearly every major classical music venue in the world. He also played in chamber groups, often with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal. At the start, Entremont was associated with the music of neoclassic composers such as Milhaud and Stravinsky, as well as their predecessor, Saint-Saëns. He also often played Mozart and Beethoven, and as his career developed, he began to program major Romantic masterpieces. Entremont has continued a vigorous concert career into old age. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he participated in the so-called "Piano Extravaganza of the Century" as one of ten internationally renowned players.
Entremont focused on a wide range of music as a conductor, an avocation he began in 1967. He served as principal conductor and music director of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra from 1976 to 2006, adding the music directorship of the New Orleans Symphony to his responsibilities between 1981 and 1986. He returned to New Orleans in 2007 as a pianist to open the orchestra's second season after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He has also conducted the Denver (Colorado) Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre des Concerts Colonnes in Paris, and the Munich Symphony Orchestra, among other groups. He is the founder of the Santo Domingo Music Festival in the Dominican Republic.
Entremont's recording career is vast, encompassing numerous recordings as both pianist and conductor on Sony Classical as well as a host of smaller imprints, and he has slowed only slightly as an octogenarian. In 2019, he released a new album of Beethoven piano sonatas on Solo Musica.