Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires. From the age of five, she took piano lessons with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and received tuition from Friedrich Gulda in Vienna; her teachers also included Nikita Magaloff and Stefan Askenase. Following her first prizes in the piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva in 1957, she embarked on an intensive programme of concerts. Her victory in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 was a decisive step on her path to worldwide recognition.
Martha Argerich rose to fame with her interpretations of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. But she does not regard herself as a specialist in "virtuoso" works - her repertoire ranges from Bach through Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and Ravel, to Bartók.
Martha Argerich has worked as a concert pianist with many famous conductors. She has also attached great importance to chamber music ever since, at the age of 17, she accompanied the violinist Joseph Szigeti - two generations older than herself. She has toured Europe, America and Japan with Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky and has also recorded much of the repertory for four hands and for two pianos with the pianists Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Nicolas Economou and Alexandre Rabinovitch. Martha Argerich has performed at Gidon Kremer's festival in Lockenhaus, at the Munich Piano Summer, the Lucerne Festival and at the Salzburg Festival, where she gave, for instance, a recital with Mischa Maisky in 1993.
She appeared with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic at the 1992 New Year's Eve Concert with Strauss's Burleske and also at the Salzburg Festival at Easter 1993. May 1998 saw the long-awaited musical "summit meeting" between Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer. On the occasion of a memorial concert for the impresario Reinhard Paulsen, the three artists came together in Japan, where they performed piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (recorded live by DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON). In March 2000 Martha Argerich gave her first great solo appearance in almost 20 years in New York's Carnegie Hall.
Martha Argerich has close ties with DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, dating back to 1967. She has recorded prolifically during this period: solo works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann; concerto recordings of works by Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Prokofiev with Claudio Abbado, Beethoven with Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Stravinsky's Les Noces with Leonard Bernstein. Her recording of Shostakovich's First and Haydn's Eleventh Piano Concertos with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn conducted by Jörg Färber was crowned with the Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD in 1995 and that of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the CD COMPACT AWARD in 1997.
She has also dedicated herself to chamber music, and has recorded works by Schumann and Chopin with Mstislav Rostropovich, and cello sonatas by both Bach and Beethoven with Mischa Maisky. She has made numerous successful recordings with Gidon Kremer, such as violin sonatas by Schumann and works by Bartók, Janácek and Messiaen (PRIX CAECILIA 1991), and Mendelssohn's concerto for violin and piano with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Their recording of Prokofiev sonatas and melodies received the 1992 Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD, the DIAPASON D'OR 1992 and the EDISON AWARD 1993. One of their most outstanding recording achievements was that of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas (Nos.1-3: RECORD ACADEMY AWARD 1985), which was concluded with the release of the Sonatas op. 47 "Kreutzer" and op. 96 in 1995. Among her more recent releases is the above-mentioned live recording of piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer.
Martha Argerich takes a great supportive interest in young artists. In September 1999 the first International "Martha Argerich" Piano Competition took place in Buenos Aires - a competition which does not only carry her name but in which she is president of the jury. In November 1999 the second "Martha Argerich Music Festival" took place in southern Japan, with concerts and masterclasses being given not only by Martha Argerich but also by Mischa Maisky and Nelson Freire among others.
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires on November 15, 1942, into a family of Ukrainian Jewish descent. Daniel's mother was his first piano teacher; he later studied with his father, Enrique Barenboim, who was an eminent music professor. After playing for the noted violinist Adolph Busch, who was impressed by his talent, Daniel made his debut recital at the age of seven. In 1951, he played at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and observed Igor Markevitch's conducting class. The family moved to Israel in 1952; two years later, Daniel went back to Salzburg for a conducting course with Markevitch, piano studies with Edwin Fischer, and chamber music performance with Enrico Mainardi. In the same year, he enrolled in the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, becoming, in 1956, one of the Academy's youngest graduates. He studied conducting with Carlo Zecchi at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, also attending Nadia Boulanger's music theory and composition class at Fontainebleau. After recitals in Paris in 1955, he made his London debut in 1956, playing a recital in Festival Hall as part of the Mozart bicentennial celebrations. His U.S. debut was at New York's Carnegie Hall on January 20, 1957, in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Symphony of the Air. Later that year, he made his conducting debut in Haifa, Israel. His first North American recital was on January 17, 1958, in New York. Barenboim played his first cycle of the complete 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in Tel Aviv in 1960 and then in New York. As a frequent conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra from 1964, he often appeared as soloist-conductor in concertos, touring with the ECO in Latin America and the Far East. Debuts with leading orchestras included the London Symphony Orchestra (New York, 1968), Berlin Philharmonic (1969), and New York Philharmonic (1970). Since then he has guest conducted virtually all of the world's leading orchestras. He led London's South Bank Summer Music Festival from 1968 to 1970. His first appearance conducting opera was at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973; his debut opera was Don Giovanni.
In 1967, Barenboim married the brilliant cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, with whom he made several exceptional recital recordings. The couple also participated in a number of excellent concert and documentary films for television directed by Christopher Nupen. Unfortunately, this partnership ended when Du Pré contracted multiple sclerosis, which forced her to end her playing career in 1972. She died in 1987.
Barenboim became music director of the Orchestre de Paris in 1975. In 1988, the French Minister of Culture announced Barenboim's appointment as artistic director of the new Bastille Opéra in Paris. Sadly, following political squabbles, which included disputes over money and artistic policy, a new Minister of Culture dismissed Barenboim in January 1989. However, that same month he was named as Sir George Solti's successor as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1992, Barenboim became music director of the Berlin State Opera, then named chief conductor for life by its orchestra in 2002. He has also received awards for his efforts to bring together and mentor young Israeli and Palestinian musicians. In 1999, with Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, Barenboim co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a summer youth orchestra designed to foster understanding and cooperation. In May, 2011, he conducted the ad hoc Orchestra for Gaza, under the auspices of the United Nations.
Barenboim has a rich recorded repertoire as a conductor, pianist, accompanist, and chamber music player. Interestingly, as a pianist, he tends to focus on Mozart, Beethoven, and the early Romantics, while as a conductor he favors later Romantic music, particularly Brahms and Bruckner (he has won a medal from the Bruckner Society of America). With German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau he has played acclaimed recitals of lieder, notably those of Hugo Wolf. In 2004 he resigned his position in Chicago, citing stress brought on by the numerous nonmusical activities conductors of American orchestras are expected to undertake.
Daniel Barenboim & Martha Argerich - Live from Buenos Aires (Trailer)
On October 9, 2015, PERAL MUSIC digitally released a live recording of another of the legendary concerts that Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich have given in the Teatro Colón – in this case in the summer of 2015. This recording now comes to CD on Deutsche Grammophon. The program was recorded in July during the second "Festival de Música y Reflexión" that Daniel Barenboim established in 2014 in his native Argentina.
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Urged on by the cheering of 6,000 people – mercifully no flag waving; that's yet to come – music won but theatre came a breathless and flamboyant second at Wednesday's Prom 43, which had its own dual lap of honour by two of the most gilded musicians alive, Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich. Now in their 70s, friends since early childhood as musical prodigies in Buenos Aires, he is still the pugnacious, illustrious, classroom leader, she the shy, unknowable, reluctant superstar. Argerich & Barenboim lead the way at Proms 39, 40, 41, 42, 43; Royal Albert Hall; Cadogan Hall London.
Argerich had cancelled as soloist in the same concert in Salzburg only last week. Luckily Barenboim, conducting, was able to fill the vacant piano stool. Would the Proms, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – formed in 1999 to unite musicians from across the Arab-Israeli divide, and popular Proms regulars – be luckier? They – we – were. After the orchestra had played Jörg Widmann's Con brio, a witty, allusive concert overture, Argerich walked on stage, a little hesitant. Barenboim left her to take the applause alone, watching from the side. She looked almost desperate, beckoning as if to say "don't you dare leave me here". In his own good time, he took his place on the podium.
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Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999. It's a project that Barenboim has continued to cherish ever since, regularly conducting this annual coming together of young musicians from across the Arab world, Israel and Spain (Seville has become the orchestra's meeting place each year), and shaping it into an ever more responsive and musically sophisticated ensemble.
That steady refining has been obvious in its regular visits to the Proms, too, but Barenboim and his orchestra's latest appearance at the Royal Albert Hall was extra special, because of the soloist who was appearing with them. Martha Argerich has been touring with the orchestra this month, giving concerts first in Buenos Aires, where she and Barenboim grew up the 1940s, and then across Europe, returning to a work that hasn't been part of her repertory for many years, Liszt's First Piano Concerto.
Photograph: Chris Christodoulou/BBC
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DG releases another legendary concert from Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich, performed in the Teatro Colón in 2015. Following the success of last year's inaugural album, Barenboim and Argerich chose to perform chamber music: Debussy's arrangement of Schumann's Six Studies in Canon Form, Debussy's own En blanc et noir, and Bartók's Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion with Pedro Manuel Torrejón González and Lev Loftus.
Argerich & Barenboim: Live from Buenos Aires on Deutsche Grammophon is the WFMT: Chicago 'NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK.' Featured tracks include: Schumann: Six Studies in Canon Form, Op 56 (16:26). Martha Argerich & Daniel Barenboim, pianos
Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, two legendary musicians – both born in Buenos Aires in the early 1940s – are friends and musical partners. They perform together on Monday 20 April at London's Royal Festival Hall, and this month, EuroArts releases a DVD of an unforgettable concert from April 2014 in which the two performed piano music for four hands. You can watch them play the third movement of the Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D K448, exclusively here.
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Reuniting after more than 15 years, renowned conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim and pianist Martha Argerich come together on this new recording of piano duos. The two artists have a long-standing friendship that dates back to when they were children growing up in Buenos Aires and performing at the home of Ernesto Rosenthal, which was the local haven for chamber music nights. Now, the duo pairs up for this live recording which took place at Berlin's Philharmonie this past April, presenting music of Mozart, Schubert and Stravinsky.
The Argerich & Barenboim - Schubert: Variations on an Original Theme in A-flat major, D 813 on Deutsche Grammophon is one of this week's New Releases Of the Week on WFMT: Chicago.