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Cultural Issues


Maria João Pires
(born July 23, 1944)

Maria João Pires is a Portuguese classical pianist.
She began studying piano at an early age, and by the time she was seven years old was already performing Mozart concertos in public. At the age of nine she received Portugal's top prize for young musicians. Between 1953 and 1960 she studied with Professor Campos Coelho at the Lisbon Conservatory, and also took courses in composition, theory and history of music with Francine Benoit. She continued her studies in Germany, first at the Musikakademie in Munich under Rosl Schmid, then in Hannover with Karl Engel.

Maria João Pires achieved international recognition on winning First Prize in the 1970 Beethoven Bicentennial Competition in Brussels. Her debuts in London (1986) and New York (1989) were highly acclaimed by the press. In 1987 she appeared in Hamburg, Paris and Amsterdam during the inaugural tour of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra with Claudio Abbado. Maria João Pires is a regular guest performer in Europe, Canada, Japan, Israel and the USA appearing with all the major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris. In recent years, Maria João Pires has been heard at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Schubertiad Feldkirch, at Tanglewood and at the Ravinia Festival. She made her debut at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 1990 with Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to pursuing her career as a soloist and recitalist, Maria João Pires is an avid performer of chamber music. Since 1989 she has worked primarily with the French violinist Augustin Dumay and it was with him that she made her London debut. The two artists have also appeared together throughout Europe and have visited Japan on an extended recital tour in autumn 1992 and summer 1994. Together with the cellist Jian Wang they toured in the Far East during autumn 1998.

Maria João Pires has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 1989. Many of her recordings have been devoted to the music of Mozart, the most important being her complete recording of the Mozart piano sonatas. The first release within this cycle, which appeared in 1990, was awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque and the CD Compact Prize. She has also recorded sonatas and piano pieces by Schubert. In her partnership with violinist Augustin Dumay, Maria João Pires has recorded chamber music by Mozart, Brahms, Franck, Debussy and Ravel. They also contributed a recording of Grieg's violin sonatas to the anniversary edition commemorating the composer's 150th birthday in 1993. Subsequently Maria João Pires made two recordings of Mozart Concertos with Claudio Abbado conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the one and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in the other.

Further releases include Robert Schumann's «Faschingsschwank aus Wien» and «Fantasiestücke» for oboe and piano with Douglas Boyd. The Pires-Dumay-Wang trio has followed its debut recording of works by Brahms (Grand Prix du Disque 1997 „in honorem“) with a disc of Mozart’s Piano Trios. Maria João Pires's recording of Bach's Partita No. 1 was in 1996 was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy. The artist has also dedicated herself to Chopin with a recording of the Préludes and the Second Piano Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under André Previn (Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw, 1995) and the complete Nocturnes which was awarded the Record Academy Prize 1996, the CD Compact Award 1997 and the Grand Prix du Disque 1997. Recent releases feature recordings of Schubert’s Impromptus, works by Chopin with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Emmanuel Krivine and works by Schumann with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under the direction of Claudio Abbado (other soloists: Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon and Gérard Caussé).
She is now busy trying to develop her concept for a cultural centre in the rural part of Portugal: Quinta de Belgais.



About Maria João Pires:
Album - The Nocturnes (Maria Joao Pires) mp3: