Before the Inauguration: Argerich Intimately
small, Before the Inauguration: Argerich Intimately, Martha Argerich. Photo: Clive Barda /PAL / Forum , full_marta_a_forum_770.jpg
This year’s competition will commence with a concert by Martha Argerich. On 1st October she will perform Robet Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.
It's a paradox, but the most incredible solo pianist of our times, Martha Argerich, has not played solo in public for 32 years, performing only with orchestra or chamber ensembles. She feels more confident on stage when she can make contact with other musicians. We were witnesses to this at the last "Chopin and his Europe" festival. Argerich conversed with the conductor Jacek Kaspszyk , Mischa Maisky and Maria João Pires, with whom she played a duet for the first time during that Warsaw performance, in spite of the fact that they have known each other for years. She has played Mozart and Debussy with her then husband, pianist Stephen Kovacevich. She was also part of the all-star line-up for Stravinsky's Les Noces conducted by Leonard Bernstein, alongside Krystian Zimerman, Cyprien Katsaris and Homero Francesch.
Of all the pianists she has performed with, Argerich has collaborated most frequently with Nelson Freire. Russian composer, conductor and pianist Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky is second in that line, if we count only the recordings; they have performed repertoire ranging from Mozart to Brahms and Rachmaninov, as well as Rabinovitch-Barakovsky's own Musique Populaire. She has recorded with Romanian pianist Nicolas Economou, as well as Yefim Bronfman, Lilya Zilberstein and Mikhail Pletnev (she appreciates Russian musicians). Argerich's preferred partners in chamber music performance are violinist Gidon Kremer (they have recorded nine albums together) and cellist Mischa Maisky (seven albums). Out of other cellists and violinists, she greatly prized working with Mstislav Rostropovich, and with Ivry Gitlis and Maxim Vengerov; she has also recorded a "live" album with Itzhak Perlman. Recently she has enjoyed performing with the Capuçon brothers, violinist Renaud and cellist Gautier.
In the 13 years since she took up the reins at the Lugano Festival, she has performed with both old friends and new acquaintances as part of her "Progetto Martha Argerich". An entire series of live records from Lugano have been released under the title Martha Argerich & Friends, including a performance of a Mozart sonata with Piotr Anderszewski.
Author: Dorota Szwarcman, October 2010. This article comes from the current edition of the Chopin Express gazette published for the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, in coooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and "Gramophone" magazine.
Other articles of interest:
"The Judge's Viewpoint; An Interview with Andrzej Jasiński"