Hantaï was born in Paris on February 28, 1964. Inspired by Gustave Leonhardt's performance of Bach's music, he began playing at home, which led to studies on the harpsichord with Arthur Haas at age 12. He later studied under Leonhardt in Amsterdam for two years. In 1983, Hantaï scored his first major triumph by taking first prize at the International Bach-Handel Competition of Bruges in Belgium; since then, he has collected an impressive number of honors and awards. Hantaï specializes in the keyboard music of the Baroque, with a focus on the music of Bach and Scarlatti. In 1993, Hantaï released his first recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations to great acclaim. He has since performed this work over 100 times and recorded it a second time, in 2002. Also in 2002, Hantaï issued the first in a series of recordings of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas.
While Hantaï has mainly worked as a soloist during his career, he's also been an active chamber ensemble performer. He, along with brothers Marc (Baroque flute) and Jérôme (viol), founded the chamber ensemble Le Concert Français in 1983. Pierre conducts the group from the keyboard. He has also performed in the chamber ensembles Le Petite Bande under Sigiswald Kuijken and Le Concert des Nations under Jordi Savall. He also performs as an accompanist in concerts and recordings. Among the musicians he's accompanied are Emmanuel Balssa and François Fernandez.
While he's recorded mainly for the Mirare label, Hantaï has additionally recorded for Opus 111 and Naïve, among others. In 2019, he released the sixth volume of Scarlatti sonatas on Mirare.