Nelson Freire

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Nelson Freire
Birth nameNelson Freire
Born (1944-10-18) 18 October 1944 (age 76)
Boa Esperança, Brazil
Occupation(s)Classical pianist
LabelsDecca Classics

Nelson Freire (born 18 October 1944) is a Brazilian classical pianist.

Freire began playing the piano at age three.[1] He replayed from memory pieces his older sister, Nelma, had just performed. His teachers in Brazil were Lucia Branco, a former student of Arthur de Greef, a pupil of Liszt, and her assistant Nise Obino. For his first public recital, at the age of four,[1] Freire chose Mozart's Sonata in A major, K. 331.

In 1957, Freire's performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, at the age of 12. He was awarded 7th place at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition. He subsequently received a Brazilian government grant to study in Vienna with Bruno Seidlhofer. By 1964, Freire had won his first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon, Portugal (ex-aequo with Vladimir Krainev) and he also received the Dinu Lipatti Medal and the Harriet Cohen Medal in London, England. In December 2001, he chaired the jury for the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris. His debut at The Proms was in August 2005.[2]

In general, Freire[3] tends to avoid the limelight, publicity, and interviews.[4][5] However, in 2011, Freire withdrew from a scheduled engagement with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (OSB) and conductor Roberto Minczuk, in support of the orchestra musicians, following the dismissal of about three dozen OSB musicians by Minczuk.[6]


Freire has recorded for Sony/CBS, Teldec, Philips, and Deutsche Grammophon. He has recorded Liszt's piano concertos with the Dresden Philharmonic under Michel Plasson for Berlin Classics. Freire has recorded commercially with Martha Argerich,[7] with whom he shares a long-time musical collaboration and friendship.[4] Freire has more recently signed an exclusive contract with Decca, the first result of which are recordings devoted to the works of Chopin,receiving the Diapason d’Or, a "Choc" award from Monde de la Musique, as well as being rated a "10" by the Répertoire magazine and "recommended" by Classica. The recordings comprise, in two CDs, the 24 piano études and the 2nd and 3rd piano sonatas, as well as the Barcarolle op. 60. Subsequent Decca recordings include a 2-CD set of the Brahms piano concertos with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly,[8] which won the 2007 Classic FM and Gramophone awards in the Record of the Year and Concerto categories, and CDs devoted to Beethoven sonatas,[9] Chopin,[10] and Debussy.[11] He marked the 2011 bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt with a Decca CD entitled Harmonies du Soir.[12] He has also recorded Brazilian piano music for Decca.[13]

An archived recording of Freire at the age 12–13 includes his 1957 live concert performance in the final round of the Rio de Janeiro Piano Competition of that year, which launched his career, as well as pieces he recorded immediately after the competition.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pianist searches for improvement and change". The Vancouver Sun. January 22, 1987. p. C6.
  2. ^ Andrew Clements (2005-08-01). "BBCSSO/ Volkov". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  3. ^ Jean-Pierre Thiollet, 88 notes pour piano solo, "Solo nec plus ultra", Neva Editions, 2015, p.51. ISBN 978-2-3505-5192-0.
  4. ^ a b Leslie Kendall (2000-04-02). "Pianist Takes Back Seat, But His Talent Doesn't". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  5. ^ Andrew Clements (2014-09-03). "Nelson Freire: Radio Days – Concerto Broadcasts 1968–1979 review – not a dud among them". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  6. ^ Cristina Grillo (2011-06-04). "Solistas incendeiam crise na OSB". Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  7. ^ Nicholas Kenyon (2009-12-06). "Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire: Live from Salzburg". The Observer. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (2006-06-16). "Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Freire/ Leipzig Gewandhaus O/ Chailly". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  9. ^ Andrew Clements (2007-05-31). "Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp 27 no 2, 53, 81a and 110, Nelson Freire". [8The Guardian]]. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  10. ^ Andrew Clements (2010-03-04). "Chopin: The Nocturnes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  11. ^ Andrew Clements (2009-01-23). "Debussy: Preludes Book 1; Children's Corner; etc: Nelson Freire". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  12. ^ Andrew Clements (2011-04-28). "Liszt: B minor Ballade; Six Consolations, etc – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  13. ^ Andrew Clements (2012-08-22). "Brasileiro: Villa-Lobos and His Friends – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  14. ^ Sidney Molina (2012-06-25). "Lançamento histórico traz primeiras gravações de Nelson Freire aos 12, tocando Beethoven e Chopin". Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 2014-12-25.

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