Biographical Timeline

“I can’t think of a pianist with a more ideal command of Chopin’s style. Pires trips through the roulades with filigree dexterity, but her tone is so thoughtful, serious and weighty that they arrive with immense emotional profundity.”

The Times, London, June 2007



Maria Joăo Pires was born in Lisbon in 1944. She made her first public performance at the age of seven with Mozart’s Piano Concertos in Oporto, Portugal. At the age of nine she received Portugal’s highest award for young musicians just one year later. From 1953 until 1960 she stu¬died at the Lisbon Conservatory with Professor Campos Coelho and took courses in composition, theory, and history of music with Francine Benoit. She continued her studies in Germany, first at the Munich Music Academy with Rosl Schmid, then in Hanover with Karl Engel. Maria Joăo Pires has appeared all over the globe with all the major orchestras including the Berliner Philhar¬moniker, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Wiener Philharmoniker. She is also a keen performer of chamber music. In recent years she has been heard at all the major international festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festi¬val, the Schubertiade, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Montpellier, Lucerne, Edinburgh and BBC Proms.

1970

Achieves international recognition upon winning first prize at the Brussels Beethoven International Competition commemorating the composer’s 200th birthday

1986

Highly acclaimed London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

1987

Appears in Hamburg, Paris and Amsterdam during the inaugural tour of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra with Claudio Abbado

1989

Signs exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Her first recordings are of Schubert’s Piano Sonata, 6 Moments musicaux, and Scherzos nos. 1 & 2, and Mozart’s Piano Sonatas K. 310, K. 333 and K. 545 (CD Compact, Barcelona and Grand Prix du Disque, 1990). Makes very successful New York debut. Beginning of an extensive collaboration with violinist Augustin Dumay with whom she has since appeared all over the world. Receives the Pessoa Prize for her services to the arts

1990

Debut at the Salzburg Easter Festival with Abbado and the Wiener Philharmoniker

1991

Release of Mozart’s Complete Piano Sonatas; first Deutsche Grammophon release of a recording by Pires and Dumay playing Mozart Violin Sonatas K. 301, 304, 378 and 379

1992

Visits Japan on an extended recital tour with Augustin Dumay; release of Brahms’s Violin Sonatas, with Augustin Dumay

1993

Release of Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 14 & 26 “Coronation” with the Wiener Phil¬harmoniker and Abbado, and of Grieg’s Violin Sonatas nos. 1 – 3, with Augustin Dumay

1994

Extended recital tour of Japan with Augustin Dumay. Releases: Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Waldszenen, Romanzen, Arabeske; Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 2 and 24 Préludes op. 28 recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under André Prévin (Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin, Warsaw, 1995)

1995

Release of Bach’s Partita no. 1, French Suite no. 2 and English Suite no. 3 (Grand Prix du Disque, 1996); Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 17 & 21 with The Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Abbado; compositions by Schumann with oboist Douglas Boyd, and by Debussy, Franck and Ravel with Dumay

1996

Concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Salzburg and Lucerne. Release of Chopin’s Complete Nocturnes (Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 1996; CD Compact, Barcelona, Grand Prix du Disque, 1997); first trio recording with Augustin Dumay and cellist Jian Wang of Brahms’s Piano Trios (Grand Prix du Disque, 1997)

1997

Release of Le Voyage magnifique – works by Schubert complemented by texts selected by Maria Joăo Pires; Album of Mozart Piano Trios with Dumay and Jian Wang

1998

Tour of the Far East with Dumay and Jian Wang. Release of Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe led by Emmanuel Krivine

1999

Establishment in Portugal of Belgais, an inter-cultural centre

2000

Release of Schumann’s Piano Concerto and Piano Quintet with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Abbado

2001

Release of Moonlight, an album with solo works by Beethoven recorded in Belgais

2002

Tour of Japan. Completion and release of Beethoven’s Complete Violin Sonatas with Dumay (German Record Critics’ Prize, 2003). Receives IMC-Unesco-Music Prize 2002

2003

Concerts throughout Europe with renowned orchestras; tour of Britain with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Charles Mackerras; solo, duo and trio recitals throughout Europe with Ricardo Castro, Dumay, and Jian Wang

2004

Appearances with the Orchestre National de France, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra (Menuhin Festival, Gstaad), Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Philharmonia Orchestra. Duo recitals with Castro throughout Europe, with Jian Wang in Paris, and Dumay in Luxemburg

2005

Tour of Spain with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Krivine; concerts with the Real Philharmonia de Galicia, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra; tour of Japan. Recitals throughout Europe and at festivals in Luxemburg and Italy. Release of Résonance de l’Originaire, a compilation of two Schubert solo sonatas and three pieces for four hands in which she is joined by Ricardo Castro

2006

Concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and Haitink, the Gewandhaus¬orchester under Pinnock at the Mozart Festival, the Orquesta Nacional de Espańa in Madrid, the Philharmonia Orchestra in Zurich, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Germany. Receives the Don Juan de Borbón da Música Prize in Segovia for “her qualities both as an artist and as a human being”. Disappointed by the lack of support for her Belgais project from the Portuguese authorities, she moves to San Salvador, Brazil

2007

Appearances at the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen; performances with the Zurich Ton¬halle Orchestra and Dutoit, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Solo recitals in Spain and Vienna; duo recital in San Salvador with Dumay. Pires is awarded the Prémio Eduardo Lourenço by the Centro de Estudos Ibéricos for her contribution to the diffusion of musical culture

2008

Concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gardiner, the English Concert, Concertgebouw Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker, all with Pinnock, and the London Chamber Orchestra. Concerts and recitals in South America; solo recitals throughout Europe. Audio release in Portugal of works by Chopin, including the Etude op. 25 no. 7, the Piano Sonata no. 3, and the Polonaise no. 7, op. 61, and the Cello Sonata op. 65 with Pavel Gomziakov

2009

Concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gardiner, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Haitink (Lucerne Festival), the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Mackerras, the London Philharmonic under Pinnock, and the Royal Concertgebouworkest under Fischer. European tour with the Basle Chamber Orchestra, and an extensive concert and recital tour of Japan. Recitals in Lisbon, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands in which she is joined by cellist Pavel Gomziakov. International release of the Chopin recording


3/2009
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