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Luso-American pianist Jill Lawson was born in Mexico in 1974 and grew up in Belgium. She is currently based in Portugal.
Jill learned how to read music before she learned the alphabet. Today she speaks five languages fluently, but still prefers to communicate through music rather than through words. Her music provides her with a much richer vocabulary, and it lies closer to her heart. Her life experiences in the last few years have helped to further enrich her range of interpretation abilities. She feels that her way of playing has become more natural, and because of this when performing she feels almost at one with the public.
She won several awards and distinctions in both national and international competitions, such as the 2º prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition (Macau, 1997); finalist at the Classical Fellowship Awards from the American Pianists Association (Indianapolis, 2003); 4º prize at the International Schubert Competition (Dortmund, 2001); finalist at the International Piano Competition Premi Principat d’Andorra (Andorra, 2001); 1º prize at the Concurso Cidade de Covilhã (Portugal, 2001); 2º prize at the Concurso de Interpretação (Estoril, Portugal, 2001); Laureate of the Tenuto contest (Brussels, 1995).
Jill began her piano studies when she was eight years old in Antwerp with Heidi Hendrickx and Levente Kende. She later studied in Fiesole with Maria Tipo and in Amsterdam with Jan Wijn. In 2004 she obtained her Master of Music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore under Leon Fleisher and Ellen Mack.
She attended several master classes with various pianists including Dimitri Bashkirov, Vladimir Viardo, Vitaly Margulis, Sequeira Costa, Helena Sá e Costa and Gyorgy Sebok. She took part in the award-winning documentary by Roel van Dalen Een hartstochtelijk Les (2001) during a workshop in Belgais with Maria João Pires.
Jill has performed as a soloist with orchestra and recitals in the US, Europe and Asia. Simultaneously, she remains an active chamber musician, having collaborated with Ilya Grubert, Pavel Gomziakov, Artur Pizarro, David Cohen, Carlos Damas, Eleonora Karpukhova, Martin Sued, soprano Elisabete Matos. She forms the Lawson & Lawson Duo with her brother, violinist Eliot Lawson and is a member of the MPQ Quartet of Cascais since 2021.
She is an adjunct piano professor at the Superior School of Applied Arts (ESART) of the Polytechnical Institute of Castelo Branco since 2008 and coordinator of the piano class of the Escola de Música do Colégio Moderno in Lisbon since 2014, both in Portugal. She has collaborated with the National Ballet of Portugal in Impromptus by Sasha Waltz and The Green Table by Kurt Jooss
She recorded the complete chamber music for violin and piano of Portuguese composers António Fragoso and Frederico de Freitas (Brilliant Classics 2013 and 2015), the Hindemith Violin and Piano Sonatas (Brilliant Classics 2014) and more recently the Complete Chamber Music Vol. 2 by Joly Braga Santos (Toccata Classics 2020)