The Moldovian-born American pianist, Alexander Paley, began playing the piano at age 6, gave his first recital in Kishinev in April 1969 (at age 13), and at age 16 won the National Competition of Moldova. Subsequently, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Bella Davidovich and Vera Gornostayeva, completing his graduate work there in 1981. He went on to win major awards, including including First Prize in the Leipzig International Bach Competition in 1984, followed by an invitation from Kurt Masur to accompany the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; the 1986 Bosendorfer Prize; Grand Prix at the first International Pancho Vladigerov Competition in Bulgaria, also in 1986; Grand Prix Young Artist Debut, New York in 1988; and 1st Prize at Aiex de Vries Prize, Belgium in 1990.
Alexander Paley performed frequently as a recitalist and soloist throughout Eastern Europe, as well as in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Spain. From 1985 to 1990 he was a featured soloist during numerous tours with the Moscow Virtuosi under Vladimir Spivakov. In 1986 he played with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and in 1989 with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. He made his debut at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, playing the world premiere of French composer Jean-Louis Agobet's Piano Concert with the Strasburg Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Jan-Latham Koenig. A few weeks later he returned to Paris to perform Sergei Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with Myung-Whun Chung conducting. He gave recitals at Chatelet, Paris in 1990, at Auditorium fe Halles in 1991, in Strasbourg, Moscow, Prague, Berlin, and Sofia, among others. He has been a featured artist during the last three Radio-France Festivals where he performed as a recitalist, chamber musician and as soloist with the Montpellier National Symphony Orchestra. Other recent European appearances include performances at Radio France in Paris, the Grandes Interprétes series in Lyon, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, as well as concerto performances with orchestras such as the Orchestre National de France, tNDR Orchestra of Leipzig and Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo.
Since his emigration in 1988, Alexander Paley has become an American citizen. He is widely recognized for his exceptionally broad and extensive repertoire of of some thirty concertos and solo works ranging from Scarlatti to Bartok, his dazzling technical prowess, and his convincing, personal interpretations. The Washington Post called Paley's 1991 debut with the National Symphony Orchestra a "flawless performance," and since then he earned similar accolades for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra (1991), Aspen Festival Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Syphony, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony (1991), Milwaukee Symphony, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and Syracuse Symphony Orchestras, and at the Wolf Trapp Festival (1991). His Carnegie Hall debut was with the American Composers Orchestra in the world premier of a new concerto by Sheila Silver. The New York Times wrote "The pianist...played like a man posessed." Recent recital appearances throughout the USA have taken Paley to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Richmond, Atlanta, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Chicago's Allied Arts Series, and the Seattle International Music Festival. A favorite of audiences in Washington D.C., he made two recital appearances during the 1999-2000 season, playing the dedicatory recital on the German Embassy's new Blüthner piano in December and performing at the Dumbarton Concert Series in April. His program for this concert featured J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) and French Suite No. 5 (BWV 816). The Washington Post review of this recital began: "Once in a while, never often enough, a recital is so exhilarating that it reaches far into the intermission, which becomes a delicious interlude between the lingering vapors of superlative artistry already experienced and the enormous pleasure of knowing there is still more to come."
As a chamber musician, Alexander Paley performed in major venues and festivals both in the USA and in Europe. He partnered eminent artists such as Bella Davidovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Oleg Krysta, D. Sitkovetsky and B. Bergamentshkov, and played with important ensembles such as the Vermeer, Ysaye and the Fine Arts string quartets, the New York Chamber Soloists with Vladimir Spivakov, as well as with principal players from major orchestras including the NDR Leipzig Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The year 2005 marked the 14th anniversary of Alexander Paley's festival at the Moulin d'Andé in Normandy, France. This festival, a week-long series of recitals, lieder and chamber music concerts, has become a highlight of the season for many French music lovers. It has been the subject of an hour-long documentary by Russian television which has been broadcast throughout eastern Europe as well as in Israel, and has led to the creation of the Paley Piano Quartet and the Moulin d'Andé Chamber Orchestra directed by Paley. He made his operatic conducting debut with this chamber orchestra with performances of Pergolesi's La Serva Padrone and Telemann's Pimpinone at the Theatre of Evreux Scène National in France and has since gone on to conduct La Traviata at the National Opera of Moldavia. In August 1998, he created a new festival in Richmond, Virginia, The Paley Festival, which has drawn both popular and critical acclaim for its bold programming and brilliant performances.
Today Alexander Paley resides in New York and Paris. He performs extensively in North America and Europe with his wife, Pei-Wen Chen, sharing his musical genius.
Alexander Paley recorded all 4 Mephisto walzes and other Franz Liszt's pieces, the complete solo piano works of Balakirev for ESS.A.Y. and works by Scriabin and Weber for Naxos. His recording of Anton Rubinstein's Piano Concertos Nos.2 and 4 with the Russian State Orchestra is available on the Russian Disc label. He has recently completed a series of recordings for Acte Sud including the world premier recording of the Sgambati Piano Concerto with the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, sonatas for 'cello and piano by Frédéric Chopin and S. Rachmaninov, and solo works including F. Liszt's transcription of the L.v. Beethoven Septet. In 2004, he recorded a CD with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Strasbourg. He has also recorded for National Public Radio, USA, Radio France and Melodiya, Moscow.