I have the great privilege of going to a school that Hamelin is fond of for some reason. I study at Brandon University in Brandon, Canada, and he has been at our school numerous times over the years, once in each the last couple years (although I've only been in university for two of those years and two of those three were with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra which travels to Brandon for five concerts a year). Anyways, in my first year, fall of 2004, he came to our school with his wife, the singer Jody Karen (or Karol?) Applebaum (sp?) for a week-long residency. It was an amazing week. Hamelin played the complete Albeniz' Iberia, the two of them did a Cabaret show as well they both collaborated with members of our faculty for a noon-hour show. Then she did masterclasses and lessons (one of which I accompanied) and he did a Q&A session because he doesn't do masterclasses or teach. He's quite famous for not teaching. But because he likes our school so much (I guess) he gave four one-hour lessons to four senior students. I was not able to get one since I was in first year, but he is apparently going to be coming back for a similar residency in my fourth year, so maybe then I'll be able to be one of hte few lucky ones in the world who can say they had a lesson with Marc-Andre Hamelin. As a musician I think he's absolutely amazing and brilliant. Obviously he can play anything, although he said in the Q&A session that he disagrees with people (like those in this forum) who say he has the world's greatest technique. Of course the repertoire he tackles is itself worthy of much respect but he is also annoyed by that, saying he is just as comfortable in the standard repertoire and includes it just as regularly in his performing schedule. I have listend to his first Schumann disc and I must agree, it is stunning and just as fine musicianship as any of the unheard of repertoire that he unearths This last March he came with the WSO to Brandon to play the Busoni Piano Concerto. It had to be the most amazing concert I have ever experienced. To see all the amazing things he was able to do is such an amazing experience. And even when playing the most virtuostic sections (and there are TONNES of them) I was so amazed by how there was still a clear musical line. It was such an exhilerating experience, one that can only be captured in a live performance. I personally do consider him my "favorite" pianist alive and I find him very deeply musical and emotionally moving, it works for me, not for other people I'm sure. He has a Haydn disc coming out and I do believe a disc of Brahms chamber music which I'm very excited to hear and he mentioned in 2004 that he's always wanted to record the Schubert B-flat Sonata, and I can only hope Hyperion allows him to.