|Born||5 June 1941|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Martha Argerich (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾta aɾxeˈɾitʃ]; Eastern Catalan: [əɾʒəˈɾik]; born 5 June 1941) is an Argentine classical concert pianist. She is widely considered to be one of the greatest pianists of all time.
Early life and education
Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her paternal ancestors were Spaniards from Catalonia based in Buenos Aires since the 18th century. Her maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire, who settled in Colonia Villa Clara in Argentina's Entre Ríos Province, one of the colonies established by Baron de Hirsch and the Jewish Colonization Association. The provenance of the name Argerich is Catalonia.
A precocious child, Argerich began kindergarten at the age of two years and eight months, where she was the youngest child. A five-year-old boy, who was a friend, teased her that she would not be able to play the piano, and Argerich responded by playing perfectly, by ear, a piece their teacher played them. The teacher immediately called the mother and they "started making a fuss." She started learning the piano at the age of three. At the age of five, she moved to teacher Vincenzo Scaramuzza, who stressed to her the importance of lyricism and feeling. Argerich gave her debut concert in 1949 at the age of eight. The family moved to Europe in 1955, where Argerich studied with Friedrich Gulda in Austria, whom Argerich describes as one of her major influences. She later studied with Stefan Askenase and Maria Curcio. Argerich also seized opportunities for brief periods of coaching with Madeleine Lipatti (widow of Dinu Lipatti), Abbey Simon, and Nikita Magaloff. In 1957, at sixteen, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition within three weeks of each other.[n 1]
Following this success, Argerich had a personal and artistic crisis; she did not play the piano for three years and considered giving it up to train as a secretary or doctor. She credited Anny Askenase, the wife of Stefan Askenase, with encouraging her to return to the piano. Following her return, Argerich won the prestigious VII International Chopin Piano Competition in 1965.
Argerich performed her debut concert at the age of 8, playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor and Beethoven's First Piano Concerto in C major. Argerich gained international prominence when she won the VII International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1965, at age 24. In that same year, she debuted in the United States in Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series. In 1960, she had made her first commercial recording, which included works by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Liszt; it received critical acclaim upon its release in 1961. She has since recorded works by composers including Ginastera, Rachmaninoff and Schumann, whom she describes feeling a particular connection to.
Argerich has often remarked in interviews of feeling "lonely" on stage during solo performances. Since the 1980s, she has staged few solo performances, concentrating instead on concertos and, in particular, chamber music, and collaborating with instrumentalists in sonatas.
Argerich has also promoted younger pianists, both through her annual festival and through her appearances as a member of the jury at international competitions. The pianist Ivo Pogorelić was thrust into the musical spotlight partly as a result of Argerich's actions: after he was eliminated in the third round of the 1980 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Argerich proclaimed him a genius and left the jury in protest. According to Đặng Thái Sơn, the eventual winner, Argerich made a nice gesture of sending a public telegram to the Warsaw to congratulate him, after learning the final results. She has supported several artists including Gabriela Montero, Mauricio Vallina, Sergio Tiempo, Roberto Carnevale, Gabriele Baldocci, Christopher Falzone and others.
Argerich is the president of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and performs annually at the Lugano Festival. She has also created and been a General Director of the Argerich Music Festival and Encounter in Beppu, Japan, since 1996.
Her aversion to the press and publicity has resulted in her remaining out of the limelight for most of her career. Nevertheless, she is widely recognized as one of the greatest pianists in history. Her performance of Liszt's First Piano Concerto conducted by Daniel Barenboim at The Proms 2016 prompted this review in The Guardian: "It was an unforgettable performance. Argerich celebrated her 75th birthday in June this year, but that news doesn’t seem to have reached her fingers. Her playing is still as dazzling, as frighteningly precise, as it has always been; her ability to spin gossamer threads of melody as matchless as ever. This was unmistakably and unashamedly Liszt in the grand manner, a bit old-fashioned and sometimes even a bit vulgar at times, but in this of all concertos, with Barenboim and the orchestra following each twist and turn, every little quickening and moment of expressive reflection, it seemed entirely appropriate". Argerich returned to the Proms at the age of 78 in 2019 to perform Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto under the baton of Barenboim, a performance described as "mesmerizing".
|You may hear Martha Argerich performing Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 Here on archive.org|
Argerich has been married twice. Her first marriage was to the composer-conductor Robert Chen, (Chinese: 陈亮声; pinyin: Chén Liàngshēng) whom she married after she became pregnant by him with her first daughter, violinist Lyda Chen-Argerich. Their marriage ended after several months, in 1964. From 1969 to 1973, Argerich was married to Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, with whom she had a daughter, Annie Dutoit. Argerich continues to record and perform with Dutoit. In the 1970s, she had a relationship with the pianist Stephen Kovacevich, with whom she has a daughter, Stéphanie. Although they made few recordings together during their relationship, Argerich and Kovacevich still frequently perform together. Stéphanie Argerich explains in her film Bloody Daughter that as her parents were not married, they tossed a coin to name their daughter, for which Argerich won the toss. Argerich brought her children up in a manner described by Annie Dutoit as "bohemian"; Argerich preferred her children to stay at home rather than go to school, and would regularly host young musicians in her home and practice through the night.
Argerich is a polyglot and can speak Spanish, French, Italian, German, English and Portuguese. Although her mother tongue is Spanish, she brought her children up speaking French. She has lived in Argentina, Belgium, Switzerland, and France, and holds citizenship in Switzerland and Argentina.
Argerich has never been connected to any political party. However, she stated in a 2019 interview that she is strongly against the death penalty, and admires the French politician Robert Badinter, who enacted the abolition of the death penalty in France. Her friend and pianist Daniel Barenboim stated that when he contacted the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri in 2016, asking him to accept Syrian refugees into the country, it was also on behalf of Argerich.
In 1990, Argerich was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. After treatment, the cancer went into remission, but a recurrence in 1995 eventually lead to metastasizing to her lungs, pancreas, liver, brain and lymph nodes. Following an experimental treatment at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica pioneered by oncologist Donald Morton, Argerich's cancer went into remission again. In gratitude, Argerich performed a recital at Carnegie Hall benefiting the institute. As of 2021[update], Argerich remains cancer-free.
In 2002, director Georges Gachot released Martha Argerich, conversation nocturne (Martha Argerich, Evening Talks), a documentary film about Argerich. Stéphanie Argerich Blagojevic directed a documentary film about her mother, Bloody Daughter, based on film shot since her childhood.
- Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition: 1st prize (1957)
- Geneva International Music Competition: 1st prize (1957)
- VII International Chopin Piano Competition: 1st prize (1965)
- Claudio Arrau Memorial Medal (1997)
- Diamond Konex Award 1999 as the most important Classical Musician of the decade in Argentina.
- Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra)
- Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:
- The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette 2005 Japan
- Praemium Imperiale 2005 Japan
- Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra):
- Voted into Gramophone's Hall of Fame in 2012.
- Recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.
- Recipient of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018.
- Great Pianists of the 20th Century – Martha Argerich
- Great Pianists of the 20th Century – Martha Argerich II
- List of Argentines
- "The 20 Greatest Pianists of all time | Classical-Music.com". www.classical-music.com.
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- Andrew Clark (8 July 2011). "Strains of mood music". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
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- Carrizo, Rodrigo (24 January 2013). "Examining a Martha-daughter relationship – SWI". Swissinfo.ch. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- In a 2001 article about Martha Argerich for The New Yorker, critic Alex Ross wrote: "Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brain-teasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it."
- "West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Barenboim/Argerich review – extraordinary in every respect". The Guardian. 18 August 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Clements, Andrew (13 August 2019). "Prom 34: West-Eastern Divan Orch/Barenboim/Argerich review – immaculate and mesmerising" – via www.theguardian.com.
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- Hauptfuhrer, Fred; Vespa, Mary (7 April 1980). "A Top Woman Pianist, Martha Argerich, Nearly Gave Up Her Steinway for Steno". people.com. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Martha Argerich Speaks to Stephen Kovacevich". Gramophone.co.uk. November 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Martha Argerich e Stephen Kovacevich - Leffest 2018. Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival. 7 October 2019. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- Martha Argerich en concert privé - private concert [SSTEN, SSTFR, SSTDE] – ARTE Concert. ARTE Concert. 27 June 2021. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- 2012 Verbier Festival - interview#16 - Martha Argerich. medici.tv. 14 August 2012. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- Martha Argerich - RARE - Interview & rehearsal - Hamburg Laeiszhalle. musicbox78nrw. 11 April 2021. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- RSI - INTERVISTA A MARTHA ARGERICH. Gerardo Nardelli. 24 November 2012. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- Nelson Freire e Marta Argerich tocando Racmaninoff Opus 2 ppara duas maos. Daniel De Nardi. 31 January 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- Argerich (Bloody Daughter)
- "No, no es real este video de Martha Argerich tocando la marcha peronista". 7 September 2019.
- Martha Argerich, in her own words (with English Subtitles). Argerich Vault. 4 June 2021. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021 – via YouTube.
- "Daniel Barenboim on ageing, mistakes and why Israel and Iran are twin brothers". TheGuardian.com. 16 August 2016.
- Toronto Globe and Mail, concert review, 28 March 2000
- Midgette, Anne (1 December 2016). "Martha Argerich is a legend of the classical music world. But she doesn't act like one". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Martha Argerich, conversation nocturne" – via www.imdb.com.
- Leslie Felperin (30 April 2015). "Argerich review – a daughter's honest portrait of her classical-pianist mother". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
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- "The Kennedy Center Honors". Kennedy-center.org. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
- "Concerto in onore di Zubin Mehta". Presidenza della Repubblica (Italy). 24 October 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- "Argerich—Discography," (August 11, 1999)
- Ross, Alex; 'Madame X', November 12, 2001, a profile of Argerich in The New Yorker
- Martha Argerich, evening talks, the award-winning documentary film about Argerich by Georges Gachot – (imdb link)
- Orga, Ates, River Plate Queen (1978, 2006), an interview with Argerich first published in the 1979 International Music Guide
- MUSIC FESTIVAL Argerich's Meeting Point in Beppu, a music festival sponsored by the Argerich Arts Foundation of Beppu, Japan
- The Martha Argerich Project
- Argerich Music news, concert schedule, articles, recordings
- Argerich's repertoire through the years
- Martha Argerich biography, CD and concert review by cosmopolis.ch
- Martha Argerich Project Brings Talent to Lugano by Euro News, 15 June 2009