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Martha Argerich (Piano)

Born: June 5, 1941 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Martha Argerich is a concert pianist of Argentine origin. Her aversion to the press and publicity has resulted in her remaining out of the limelight for most of her career. She has given relatively few interviews. As a result, she may not be as well known as other pianists of similar caliber. Despite this, she is widely recognized as one of the great piano virtuosos of our time.

Early life

Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age 3. At age 5, she moved to teacher Vincenzo Scaramuzza who stressed to her lyricism and feeling. She gave her debut concert at the age of 8, playing a concerto by W.A. Mozart.

The family moved to Europe in 1955 where Argerich studied with Friedrich Gulda in Austria. She later studied with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Stefan Askenase. In 1957, at sixteen, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition within three weeks of each other. At the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition Argerich met Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli whom she would later seek out for lessons at twenty during a personal artistic crisis.

Argerich won the 7th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1965. One of her performances in that winning campaign was a defiantly confident reading of Chopin's Etude in C major (Op. 10, No. 1). The following year she gave her U.S debut in the Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series.

Professional career

In the same year, Martha Argerich 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. Although some critics say she has exaggerated dynamics and tempi, her playing is characterised by her passionate and unique sound.

Martha Argerich has often remarked in interviews of feeling "lonely" on stage during solo performances. After the 1980's she played few solo concerts, 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 Sergei Rachmaninov, Messiaen and Prokofiev. One notable record pairs S. Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

Her first marriage was to Robert Chen. From 1969 to 1973, Argerich was married to conductor Charles Dutoit, with whom she continues to record and perform. Her third husband was pianist Stephen Kovacevich.

Argerich has been tireless in promoting younger pianists, through her annual festival, and frequently appears as a member of the jury at important competitions. The Croatian pianist Ivo Pogorelic was thrust into the musical spotlight when, after being eliminated in the third round of the 1980 International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Argerich proclaimed him a genius and left the jury in protest.

Awards and recognitions

Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra) - Claudio Abbado (conductor), Martha Argerich and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for L.v. Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 (2006)
Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance: - Martha Argerich and Mikhail Pletnev for Prokofiev (Arranged by Mikhail Pletnev): Cinderella Suite for Two Pianos/Ravel: Ma Mere L'Oye (2005)
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra) - Charles Dutoit (conductor), Martha Argerich and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3/Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3 (2000)
International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition: 1st prize (1965)



More Photos

Source: EMI Classics Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2006)

Martha Argerich: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Emi Classics | Biographies: Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich (Wikipedia)
The Martha Argerich Project)
All About Martha Argerich
Matha Argerich - Biography (AMG)
Frédéric Chopin - Internet Information Centre: Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich Recordings
Martha Argerich Videography
Argerich's repertoire through the years
Andrys Basten's Website On Martha
Martha Argerich

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Last update: ıSeptember 10, 2010 ı08:50:32