The Portuguese pianist, Sérgio Varella-Cid, was the son of a piano teacher and was considered a prodigy in Lisbon in the early 1940’s, having studied privately with some of the greatest pianists in the world, who frequented visited the family home. As a teenager he studied in London. Among his teachers were Harold Craxton (1885-1971) and Ilona Kabos (1893-1973), and he was also greatly assisted by Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963).
Sérgio Varella-Cid lived nearly his entire life in London, where he launched an international career as a concert pianist. He won prizes in Paris, Lisbon, Rio and Moscow, and in 1962 won the 6th prize at the First Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He appeared in various European centres, Africa, Far East, etc. In the late 1970’s he moved to Brazil where, in June 1981, he disappeared without a trace; it is believed the victim of murder by his cronies.
Sérgio Varella-Cid left a few recordings of works by Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninov, Debussy, and Chopin. In August 1967 the Gramophone magazine wrote about his recording of the 4 Chopin Ballads: “Sergio Varella-Cid is one of those artists who records better than he performs in public. Too often in the excitement of the moment his playing becomes undisciplined and fine artistic intentions are lost in a welter of uncontrolled tone and excess of sustaining pedal. Once or twice he overpedals here too, though not where you might expect…”