Who is Martha Argerich? Everything you need to know about the brilliant pianist
Martha Argerich is known as one of the finest pianists in the history of classical music, with her interpretations of – notably – Schumann, Prokofiev, Chopin, Fraying and Rachmaninoff topped lists of “greatest performers of all time.” But who is Martha Argerich? Where was she born and with whom did she study?
Read on for our guide to this revered artist.
When and where was Martha Argerich born?
Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1941. Her paternal family was originally from Catalonia, in northeastern Spain: however, they had settled in Argentina in the 18th century. Martha’s maternal grandparents, meanwhile, were Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire, who had settled in Argentina in the late 19th century.
Did Martha Argerich have a musical education?
Yes: in fact, Argerich showed great promise from an early age. She began piano lessons at the age of three: two years later, she began to learn with the Italian pianist and teacher Vincenzo Scaramuzzawho emphasized to him the importance of lyricism and sentiment.
Who taught Martha Argerich?
The young Martha Argerich gave her first piano concert in 1949, at the age of eight. She performed Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor and Beethoven’s first piano concerto in C major. A little later, in 1955, Martha’s family moved to Europe, allowing Martha to study piano in Austria with the great classical and jazz pianist Frederic Gulda.
She also had lessons with pianists Abbey Simon and Nikita Magaloff, as well as with Madeleine Lipatti (widow of pianist Dinu Lipatti). The year 1957 was a red year for the young pianist: at only 16, Argerich won the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition within three weeks of each other.
However, not everything was simple at that time. Argerich had some frustrating times trying to study with the great, reclusive and enigmatic pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangelo, who only gave him four classes in a year and a half. After that, the young Argerich left for New York, hoping to study with her pianist hero. Vladimir Horowitz – but that didn’t pay off either.
Disheartened, Argerich gave up the piano for three years and considered giving up altogether. However, she eventually returned – and in a certain style, winning the VII International Chopin Piano Competition in 1965 at the age of 24.
When did Martha Argerich make her first recording?
The pianist recorded her first recording in 1960, at only 19 years old.
The recording featured works by Chopin, Brahms, Fraying, Prokofievand Liszt, and was a critical success. In the decades that followed, Martha Argerich recorded works by a wide range of composers, specializing in the Romantic era. Indeed, his recordings of piano works by Robert Schumanas the Kinderszenen, Kreisleriana and Fancyundoubtedly represent the pianist at her expressive, emotional and virtuoso peak.
Where can I read an interview with Martha Argerich?
It may not be so easy. Argerich chose to stay on the sidelines for much of his career. This did not prevent her from being recognized as one of the greatest pianists of all time.
Did Martha Argerich appear at the Proms?
Yes, on various occasions. Famously, there was the Proms performance in 2016 when, at the age of 75, Argerich played Liszt’s First Piano Concerto in a performance led by his friend (and fellow Argentinian-born musician) Daniel Barenboim.
“It was an unforgettable performance,” said The Guardian. “His playing is still as dazzling, as frighteningly precise as it has always been; his ability to weave melodic threads as incomparable as ever.
Argerich has since also performed at the 2019 Proms, aged 78, to perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, again with Barenboim on the podium. The Guardian called the performance “hypnotizing”: “it bristled with intensity and intent from the first bar, so often propelled by the crystalline precision that still comes so naturally to it, and the lines of the slow movement floated with an ease in weightlessness. »
What are Martha Argerich’s best recordings?
We can help with that! Elsewhere on our site you will find a helpful sampling of some of the Martha Argerich best recordings. These include pieces by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Mozart, Beethoven and more. Good listening !