Noticed everywhere and named one of the greatest pianists of our time, Martha Argerich turned 80 on June 5. When hearing Argerich play, philosopher and musicologist Theodor W Adorno’s words instantly come to mind: “The most difficult should sound easy and effortless, overcoming all obstacles to return to a liberated game.”
UNIQUE INTERVIEW: Martha Argerich: in her own words (2019)
Listen to an interveiew published by Argerich Vault in honor of the living legend’s 80th birthday.
Did you know?
- Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, and was taught by Italian-Argentine pianist Vincenzo Scaramuzza, who taught her to sing with her fingers ”like bel canto sopranos like Maria Malibran or Giulia Grisi”.
- At eight she made her debut in Mozart’s Concerto in D minor KV 466.
- At fourteen, supported by the government of Juan Perón, she went to study with Friedrich Gulda in Vienna, which was the “greatest inspiration of my career”.
- In 1960 she made one of the most brilliant debut records ever: The staccatos, the broken chords and the brilliant passages of Chopin’s C sharp minor Scherzo; the repetitions divided between both hands on a note by Prokofiev’s Toccata; the octave thunder of the Sixth Hungarian Rhapsody by Liszt – mastered it in such a way that it was out of this world. The loudest applause came from Vladimir Horowitz, playing jokes on his friends telling them that it was him playing the Toccata…
- In 1961 she spent time taking instruction with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli in Piedmont and then stopped playing for a while, working as a secretary, and married the composer Robert Chen from whom she separated shortly before the birth of their daughter.
- Two other daughters come from the marriages with the conductor Charles Dutoit and the pianist Stephen Kovacevich.
Known of her high demands on herself, Argerich sometimes has expressed wishes for a different profession. At times during her long career Argerich avoided the arena of the large concert halls and played neither concertos nor solo recitals. Instead, she devoted herself to chamber music with friends, among them generously sponsored young musicians, at her festival in Lugano. In the late 1990s she also won the battle against serious cancer.
Martha Argerich Festival 2021 – Livestreamed
To mark the 80th anniversary of the legendary artist, Symphoniker Hamburg presents Martha Argerich Festival 2021 featuring 12 live concerts – live streamed in very high quality video and sound for fans of Martha Argerich around the world.
DATES: June 20 to July 1, 2021
LOCATION: Great Hall of the Laeiszhalle Hamburg (Germany)
Martha Argerich Festival 2021 presents 12 exclusive concerts featuring world-class artists, including Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maria João Pires, Mischa Maisky, Renaud Capuçon, Gidon Kremer and many other artists.
Further reading and listening
To sum up Martha Argerich’s 60 years as a performer is virtually impossible. Piano Street therefore has selected a number of fine articles containing different aspects of the artist and her long career.
‘Lioness’ of the piano: Martha Argerich turns 80
Martha Argerich: 80th Birthday Celebration
Martha Argerich at 80
Classic FM – Photo gallery
Martha Argerich: 11 stunning photos of the great pianist