Malcolm Bilson has been in the forefront of the period instrument movement for more than thirty years. A member of the Cornell University Music Department since 1968, where he is the Frederick J. Whiton Professor of Music Emeritus, he 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. He has been a key contributor to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the mainstream repertory.
In addition to an extensive career as a soloist and chamber player, Mr. Bilson has toured with the English Baroque Soloists with John Eliot Gardiner, the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, the Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan, Tafelmusik of Toronto, Concerto Köln, and other early and modern instrument orchestras around the world. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bard College, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a recipient of the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for his extraordinary lifetime achievements as “a pioneer in the performance of period instruments and chamber music in general.” In 2015 he was awarded the Order of the Hungarian Gold Cross by the president of Hungary for his “significant international artistic and scholarly career, and in recognition of his decades-long contributions to Hungarian musical life.”