Few of the world’s twentysomething classical pianists are on a steeper upward trajectory than Benjamin Grosvenor.

In the last year alone, the British keyboardist has made debuts with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. And he is set to appear for the first time with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concerts April 11-13 in Orchestra Hall and April 16 when the orchestra travels to the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center.

His appearance with the N.Y. Phil in April 2018 came as result of the orchestra choosing him as the inaugural recipient of its Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize, to be awarded every three years. As much as he did three years earlier for his recital debut in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, he again drew effusive reviews, this time for his solo work in Beethoven. “In the Third Piano Concerto,” wrote music critic Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times, “ the brilliant British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor played a demanding part with crisp articulation, beautiful shadings, keen attention to inner voices and tremendous imagination.”

Although obviously excited about his debuts with these top-level orchestras, Grosvenor tries to treat such high-profile performances like any other performance. “Whatever concert you play, you have an equal desire for it to go well and for you to play well,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say that they are any different, actually.”

For his Chicago performances with guest conductor Emmanuel Krivine, Grosvenor will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He first played the piece when he was 14 or 15 years old, and he has performed it regularly since. The pianist is gaining insights into both of Chopin’s keyboard concertos this season through performing them in piano-quintet versions with the Doric String Quartet.

“It’s a very interesting experience, because when the orchestra lines are pared down to this concise format, you become more aware of how dynamic they can be and how much they add to the music,” he said. “Chopin was often criticized for his bad orchestration, but there is actually quite a lot of aspects of kind of chamber music in the piece, particularly in the slow movement.”

Even though the Concerto No. 1 is a staple, Grosvenor has no interest in trying to put a distinctive stamp on it. “I think it’s wrong to set out to try to be different in what you do,” he said. “Everything you do should come from your own interpretation of the score. There are many ideas you can do for the sake of ideas, just for the sake of doing something distinctive and different, but I think that is a dangerous approach. If what emerges from your reading of the score is something that is unique, fresh and inspiring, then that would be wonderful, but I don’t think ‘uniqueness’ for its own sake should be one’s goal.”

His four concerts with the Chicago Symphony will conclude his first-ever, eight-week North American tour, beginning in late February with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Along the way have been recitals in such places as Québec City and San Francisco, as well as appearances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and The Florida Orchestra. “I come to the States a number of times a year, but never for as long as this,” he said. “It’s unusual, but it’s been great so far.”

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