Aldo Ciccolini began studying music at the age of nine years at the conservatory in Naples, with a special permission of the director Francesco Cilea. There he took piano lessons with Paolo Denza, a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni, and studied harmony and counterpoint with Achille Longo.
His first appearance as a pianist, he took over in 1941 as a 16- year-old at the Teatro San Carlo, but had to wait until 1946 to play in bars, in order to improve the family income. In 1949 he won the Marguerite Long -Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris; Another prize winner was Paul Badura -Skoda. In 1969 he became a French citizen and taught from 1970 to 1988 at the Conservatoire de Paris, where included, among others, Jean -Yves Thibaudet, Pascal Le Corre, Jean -Marc Savelli, Nicholas Angelich, Francesco Libetta and Jean -Luc Kandyoti to his pupils.
As a performer himself Ciccolini has made a name mainly for his performances of piano works by French composers such as Camille Saint- Saëns, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Erik Satie. In addition, he also likes to play lesser-known piano works by Déodat de Séverac, Jules Massenet, Charles- Valentin Alkan or Alexis de Castillon, as well as works by the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla and Liszt.
The soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf said of him: "I have met hardly a more wonderful partner and companion. "
2002 Ciccolini was awarded the Diapason d'Or for his recording of the complete piano works of Janáček and Schumann. He is also a commander of the Ordre National du Mérite. In March 2013 he was honored in Milan for his life's work with the " Lifetime Achievement Award " by the jury of " International Classical Music Award ".