Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin is an archaeologist-cum-miracle worker of the piano who has almost single-handedly brought "dead" 19th-century composers back to life with his powerful, nimble fingers and keen intellect.

Although he has recorded more than 50 CDs, even the keenest followers of the piano may not know much about him because he specializes in reviving composers like Nikolai Medtner and Leopold Godowsky--a world away from the household names of Chopin or Schubert.

He also is no show-off, having been described as the "least ostentatious of virtuosos."

"There's a certain fashion of histrionics of the keyboard which is completely foreign to what I do," the 52-year-old Montreal native, whose father was a pharmacist and amateur pianist, told Reuters over lunch in London.