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Mercedes Olivera (Piano, Harpsichord)

Born: Montevideo, Uruguay

The Uruguayan pianist and harpsicordist, Mercedes Olivera, he studied in Montevideo with Guillermo Kolischer. At 13, she gave her first concert playing the Sonata Op. 11 by Robert Schumann. She made her first appearance with orchestra in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Odeón, playing the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saëns under the baton of Maestro Joaquín Clemente. Then she gave numerous recitals and with orchestras on both banks of del Plata.

In 1946 Mercedes Olivera appeared in Europe, with a recital at the Wigmore Hall in London, and made her first broadcast for the BBC. After a brief stay in Montevideo, she returned to Europe, performing more than fifty concerts and frequent broadcasts for the BBC Latin American Service. Her career there was even faster soon as may be mutually British artists, included frequent recitals for the "Home Service" with some ten million listeners, and for television, for the “Tercer Programa” (Third Programme) of recitals in the music of the highest category, for the "Light Programme", which during the winter of 1949 gave weekly performances of Spanish classics. She also played in concerts in France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Ireland.

Mercedes Olivera performed under the direction of the such conductors as Nikolai Malko, Paul Paray, Juan José Castro, Lamberto Baldi, Alejandro Szenkar, Rudolf Schwarz, Norman de Mer, Gerbrand Schürmann, Charles Groves, etc.

Alongside her intensive activity as a concert pianist, Mercedes Olivera devoted her time to education.

During her trip made in 1956, The Times of London wrote: "In her s interpretation of the Grande Menestrandise by Couperin, which combined an extraordinary digital technics with a highly expressive interpretive intuition, it is clear that Mercedes Olivera is a harpsichord virtuoso in the great tradition ... ".

In 1957 Mercedes Olivera went again to Europe, where he remained for two years. She appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and other cities in England. She also toured Edinburgh, Germany and France and was invited to perform for the first time the full version on harpsichord of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Mercedes Olivera did not like getting much publicity and criticism and hated recording. So, she was almost unknown performer.

Source: Programme notes for a concert at Estudio Auditorio S.O.D.R.E. (Montevideo) Uruguay (June 15, 1957), English translation by Aryeh Oron (May 2011)
Contributed by
Yoshiro Shikata & Aryeh Oron (May 2011)

Mercedes Olivera: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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