The Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires is a living legend. Over the course of her career, which now spans more than seventy years, she has given countless concerts; particularly dazzling are her performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, along with her exceptional appearances with violinist Augustin Dumay and conductors Claudio Abbado and André Previn. She has made over 100 recordings, including the complete Mozart piano sonatas, which won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1990; her recordings of Chopin works are also critically acclaimed.
sense of solitude she experiences on stage, she is able swiftly to win over her listeners and engage in a meditative dialogue with them. Her interpretation of music, in fact, reflects her profound affinity with Buddhism. All the more reason to treasure what promises to be a unique appearance at the Firkušný festival. The pianist gave an unforgettable concert at the Prague Spring in 2015, where she returned after more than twenty years to join the Budapest Festival Orchestra and conductor Iván Fischer in a performance of one of Mozart’s piano concertos. On this occasion a critic for Harmonie magazine spoke highly of Pires’s crystal clear sound, her “fascinating economy of movement, and her almost minimalist outward expression.”
In addition to her piano playing, the education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds is an important issue close to Maria João Pires’s heart. With this aim in mind she founded the Belgais Center for Arts in Portugal, and in Belgium she initiated the Partitura projects and workshops (e.g. the Partitura Choirs). She also organises interdisciplinary workshops for professionals and amateurs alike.