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Maurizio Pollini (Piano)

Born: January 5, 1942 - Milan, Italy

The famous Italian pianist and conductor, Maurizio Pollini, was born in Milan. His father was the architect Gino Pollini, one of the leading representatives of Italian rationalism and also an expert violinist. His mother, Renata Melotti, studied piano and singing and was the sister of the well-known sculptor Fausto Melotti, who had a lasting influence on the young Pollini. Maurizio Pollini, a precocious child, received his first piano lessons in 1948 from Carlo Lonati. He made his debut at 9. From 1955 to 1959 he continued his studies with Carlo Vidusso at the Milan Conservatory and in 1958 he began to study composition with Bruno Bettinelli. After sharing 2nd prize at the Geneva Competition in 1958, he took his diploma in piano at the Milan Conservatory in 1959. He also studied with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. In 1960 he was awarded the first prize at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw and appeared at La Scala, Milan, playing Frédéric Chopin’s First Piano Concerto under Sergiu Celibidache.

Since then Maurizio Pollini has become one of the most admired and respected pianists of our time and has appeared all over the world with leading orchestras and conductors and as a recitalist. In later years, he made appearances as a conductor, leading concerts from the keyboard and also mounting the podium and taking charge in the opera pit.

Maurizio Pollini is a foremost master of the keyboard. He has won deserved renown for making his phenomenal technical resources a means of exploring a vast repertoire, ranging from J.S. Bach to the cosmopolitan avant-garde. He is particularly renowned for his innovative concert programmes, which champion works by contemporary composers, and contrasts these with those of the Classical and Romantic eras.

Biographical Timeline


Debuts in London and Berlin


Debut in the USA at New York's Carnegie Hall on November 1, 1968. Increasingly performs music of the 20th century


First appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker


First recordings for Deutsche Grammophon: Igor Stravinsky’s Three Movements from “Petrushka” and Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata


Salzburg Festival debut; release of F. Chopin's Etudes (Gran Premio del disco ‘Ritmo’, Madrid, Prix Mondial du disque, Montreux, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, Edison Prize)


First tour of Japan. Appearances with Herbert von Karajan (Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto)


Recitals featuring the three last sonatas of Schubert; release of Arnold Schoenberg’s Complete Piano Works (Gran Premio del disco ‘Ritmo’)


Debut as conductor with the Orchestra of La Scala; release of F. Chopin's Preludes (Grand Prix du disque)


Premiere of Nono’s . . . sofferte onde serene . . . and Manzoni’s Masse: omaggio a Edgard Varèse, both composed for him; release of Late L.v. Beethoven Sonatas (Gramo­phone Award); W.A. Mozart's Concertos Nos. 19 and 23 with Karl Böhm and the Wiener Philharmoniker (Wiener Flötenuhr)


Béla Bartók’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Claudio Abbado and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Gramophone Award)


Appearances with Mstislav Rostropovich (L.v. Beethoven: Cello Sonatas). Release of the Johannes Brahms Piano Quintet with the Quartetto Italiano (Gramophone Award, Prix Cae­cilia, Brussels and the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis)


Plays the complete L.v. Beethoven Piano Concertos in New York with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and receives the orchestra’s Honorary Ring on this occasion. Release of F. Chopin's Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3 (Edison Prize)


Plays his first complete L.v. Beethoven Sonata cycles in Berlin and Munich, later also in New York, at La Scala and in Paris, London and Vienna


Takes part in the Boulez Festival in Tokyo. At the Salzburg Festival directs the Progetto Pollini for the first time, a series of concerts in which old and new works are juxtaposed. Receives the Gold Medallion of Salzburg province. Recording of the L.v. Beethoven Piano Concertos wins CD Compact Award, Barcelona


Receives the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize


Second Progetto Pollini in Salzburg; F. Chopin's Ballades CD wins Record Academy Prize, Tokyo


Organizes the concert series Perspectives analogous to Progetto, at New York’s Carnegie Hall


Takes over programme planning of the concert series ”Kontrapunkte” at the Salzburg Easter Festival; DG recording of L.v. Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations wins Diapason d’or


Release of 13-CD Maurizio Pollini Edition to celebrate his 60th birthday and 30-year collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon. Progetto Pollini in Tokyo


Progetto Pollini takes place in Rome. Other recitals and concerts throughout Europe. CD release: L.v. Beethoven Sonatas, including his first recording of the “Appassionata”


“Artiste Etoile” at the Lucerne Festival. Recitals and concerts in Europe, Japan and the USA. Release of L.v. Beethoven Sonatas Op. 10 Nos. 1-3 and Op. 13 “Pathétique” (Choc du Monde de la musique)


Concerts and recitals throughout Europe and in Japan; Progetto Pollini at the Salzburg Festival. On CD: works by Robert Schumann and F. Chopin’s Nocturnes (Echo Award, 2006, Grammy, 2007, Victoires de la Musique Classique Award, 2007); on DVD: W.A. Mozart, L.v. Beethoven and J. Brahms concertos with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Karl Böhm and Claudio Abbado


Recitals throughout Europe, in the USA, and at the Salzburg and Beijing Festivals. Concerts in Lucerne and Tokyo with Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, in Munich with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, in Vienna with the Alban Berg Quartet, Hagen Quartett and Ensemble Wien-Berlin. Release of his recording of W.A. Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 453 & 467 as soloist and conductor of the Wiener Philharmoniker


Soloist and conductor in W.A. Mozart concertos with the Galician Symphony Orchestra in Spain and the Wiener Philharmoniker at Vienna’s Musikverein; L.v. Beethoven concertos with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall under Kurt Masur and Jurowski, and with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly. Recitals at the major European music venues, in the USA (including Carnegie Hall), and at the Salzburg, Venezia-Nono (London), and Lucerne Piano festivals. Release of his critically acclaimed recording of L.v. Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Op. 2, Nos. 1-3


J. Brahms’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome; L.v. Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado at the Philharmonie and with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra again under Claudio Abbado in Vienna’s Musikverein; Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and James Levine in Boston and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Solo recitals throughout Europe, in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the USA (including Carnegie Hall); chamber-music recital with the Hagen Quartett in Rome; a Schoenberg-Berg-Nono chamber concert in Brussels. Festival appearance at the Klavier Festival Ruhr, the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals. Spring sees the release of a live recording of W.A. Mozart Piano Concertos K. 414 & 491 with Pollini as soloist and conductor of the Wiener Philharmoniker. A F. Chopin recital (Sonata No. 2, Mazurkas, Waltzes, Impromptu No. 2, Ballade No. 2) is scheduled for release in the autumn

“Pollini’s penetrating intelligence is allied to a quite miraculous range of pianistic colour – from dramatic and arresting big moments to ravishing and intimate quiet playing.”- International Record Review, London (February 2008)

More photos 2 | More photos 3

Source: Deutsche Grammophon Website (June 2008); Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); CAMI Website (Photos)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2009)

Maurizio Pollini: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Maurizio Pollini - Biography (Deutsche Grammophon)
HarrissonParrott: Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini - Piano (CAMI)
Maurizio Pollini - Piano (Lodding Konsert)
Maurizio Pollini (Wikipedia)
Maurizio Pollini - Biography (AMG)

Pianist Maurizio Pollini - a Conversation with Bruce Duffie [Oct 1997]
Maurizio Pollini - biography, albums, concert review (Cosmopolis)
Maurizio Pollini, Parnassus of Pianistic Perfection (or some such)
Maurizio Pollini (Andante)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 17:18