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CULTURE | 14-08-2023 12:20

Piano great Martha Argerich scraps more concerts over illness

Piano virtuoso Martha Argerich has cancelled further concerts in Austria and Germany in August due to illness.

Piano virtuoso Martha Argerich has cancelled further concerts in Austria and Germany in August due to illness, organisers of the events said on Monday. 

The 82-year-old musician, considered one of the world's best pianists, was scheduled to play a series of concerts with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Argentinian-Israeli maestro Daniel Barenboim.

Last week she scrapped two of the planned engagements but kept two concerts in Salzburg and Berlin on the programme.

"The pianist had hoped for a recovery soon," the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra said.

But Argerich has now also dropped the remaining appearances "for health reasons."

German pianist Igor Levit is taking her place at the concerts.

No details were provided about Argerich's illness.

Dubbed the "lioness" for her impressive long, grey mane of hair, Argerich was born on June 5, 1941 in Buenos Aires and began playing the piano at the age of three. She gave her first concert with an orchestra aged eight.

She moved to Europe with her family in 1955, learning from some of the continent's top pianists. 

At the age of 16, in the space of 10 days, she won two major music competitions in Bolzano, Italy and in Geneva, later becoming a naturalised Swiss citizen.

She was invited to concert halls around the world and started releasing now legendary recordings of concertos and other works by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.

In 1965, she won Poland's prestigious Chopin piano competition.

For nearly two decades from the 1980s, Argerich largely shunned solo performances, saying they made her feel lonely.

She played almost exclusively with orchestras and chamber ensembles until a sold-out recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2000 in aid of a cancer charity.

She suffered from cancer in the 1990s and cancelled a series of concerts for health reasons in 2017.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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