28/03/2017

Summer concerts with Martha Argerich

In June and July Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra gives several concerts with Martha Argerich, one of the greatest performers of our time. The common tour starts on 5th and 6th of June in Italy, Brescia and Bergamo, and ends on 10th of July at Ljubljana Festival. The program will be Saint-Saëns: The Carnival of the Animals.

 

Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three. She gave her debut concert in 1949 at the age of eight, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15. The family moved to Europe in 1955 where Argerich studied with Friedrich Gulda in Austria. In 1957, at sixteen, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition, within three weeks of each other.

 

Argerich rose to international prominence when she won the seventh International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1965, at age 24. One of her performances in that winning campaign was a defiantly confident reading of Chopin’s Etude in C major (Op. 10, No. 1). At the time, besides being already a master pianist, she also conveyed an aura of a nouvelle vague actress, wearing conspicuous mini-skirts and continuously smoking cigarettes.

 

In 1966 she debuted in the United States in the Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series. In that year she made her first recording, including works by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Liszt. A few years later she recorded Chopin’s Sonata No. 3, Polonaise, Op. 53, and other short works. Her technique is considered amongst the most formidable of her time, inviting comparison with Vladimir Horowitz. Indeed, her early recordings (made at age 19) of such competition mainstays as Prokofiev’s Toccata and Liszt’s Sixth Hungarian Rhapsody remain yardsticks for these works.

 

Argerich has often remarked in interviews of feeling “lonely” on stage during solo performances. Since the 1980s she has staged few solo performances, instead focusing on concertos and, in particular, chamber music, and accompanying instrumentalists in sonatas. She is noted especially for her recordings of 20th century works by composers such as Rachmaninoff, Messiaen and Prokofiev.

 

Argerich is president of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and performs each year at the Lugano Festival, Switzerland. She has been General Director of the Argerich Music Festival and Encounter in Beppu, Japan, since 1996.

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