Hailed for his “breathtaking virtuosity and an intelligent sense of precisely what brings music to life” (Albuquerque Journal) and his “rhythmic integrity, singing tone quality, and refinement”(Clavier), Swedish-American pianist Elias-Axel Pettersson has established himself as a formidable soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue. The late Ralph Berkowitz wrote “...Pettersson is a rare musician who can project his ideas from the piano directly into the hearts and minds of his audience.” He has garnered prizes on the national and international level and has been heard on national radio through KHFM and KUNM.
A Mason & Hamlin Concert Artist, Pettersson has collaborated with numerous musicians, including violinists Krzysztof Zimowski, David Felberg, and Guillaume Tardif, violist Henk Guittart, cantor Josh Perlman, and tenor Michiel Schrey. In 2008, Pettersson formed Duo Giocoso with French violinist Roland Arnassalon; in 2017, he formed Æterna Sirius with pianist Jessica Yam. Pettersson champions contemporary composers such as Arnaud Allary, Alan Belkin, Baptiste Cathelin, Todd Coleman, Alvin Curran, Drea Pressley Tischhauser, Ben Shemie, and Altin Volaj. Pettersson premiered Petroglyph for Piano (2011), a piece written for and dedicated to him by New Mexican composer Michael Mauldin, and performed in a recording of Gabriel Madden’s La Herse (2009), featuring a rare Sauter 1/16-microtonal piano. Pettersson has three albums on the Axel Records label, featuring works ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Janáček and Vine. He has also cultivated a loyal online following through his website and YouTube channel.
Pettersson is a frequent performer, lecturer, and masterclass teacher throughout the USA, Canada, and Sweden, and is known for being a conscientious, patient, and motivational guide with a methodical, yet holistic and creative approach. He aims to coordinate the mind, body, and spirit by combining his extensive music theory and history background with his training in Alexander Technique. His students have won numerous prizes and have been admitted to undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the USA and Canada. He has also been a jury member for national and regional competitions, including the Canadian Music Competition, Prix Opus, Jackie McGehee Young Artist Competition, James R. Anthony Arizona State Honors Competition, and Performing Arts BC Provincial Festival, among others.
In 2015, Pettersson founded Southwest Piano Festival, a summer performance series dedicated to promoting the art of piano in New Mexico and local talent. In 2018, he became Director of Program Development for Arizona Piano Institute. He has lectured, taught masterclasses, and performed alongside faculty artists including Elisabeth and Eugene Pridonoff, Yuri Kot, and Eckart Sellheim and Dian Baker. In 2019, he will join the faculty of Adamant Music School in Vermont for their summer program.
Pettersson studied with Paul Stewart, Sergei Babayan, Larissa Dedova, Douglas Humpherys, and Maribeth Gunning; he also played for André Watts, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Arnaldo Cohen, Pavel Nersessian, Dina Joffe, and the Guarneri String Quartet. Pettersson holds a doctorate from the Université de Montréal.