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Martha Argerich (b1941)


Martha Argerich was a child prodigy, beginning lessons at the age of three with Ernestine C. de Kussrow. Between the ages of five and ten she learnt with Vincent Scaramuzza, making her orchestral debut at the age of nine with Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor K. 466, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 15 and Bach’s French Suite No. 5 in G major BWV 816. Because of the child’s phenomenal talent, the Argentinian President Juan Perón arranged for Martha’s parents to be employed at the Argentine Embassy in Vienna in order for young Martha to study in that city. From 1955 she studied for about a year and a half with Friedrich Gulda who had a considerable influence on her. In 1957 Argerich won two major international piano competitions, the Busoni Competition in Bolzano, and the Geneva Competition. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty Argerich led the life of a touring virtuoso giving many concerts in Western Europe and Poland, often travelling on her own. An unstructured life-style ungoverned by routine led to Argerich becoming dissatisfied with her performing career. She decided to study with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, but this did not prove successful, neither did the idea of living in New York; Argerich spent nearly two years trying to find some stability in her life.

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