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Martha Argerich
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Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich (born June 5, 1941) is a pianist of Argentinian origin.

Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, and initially studied with her mother, who was a piano teacher. She gave her debut concert at the age of eight, playing a Mozart concerto. The family moved to Europe in 1955, and Argerich studied with Friedrich Gulda in Switzerland. She later studied with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. In 1957, she won two major piano competitions within a few weeks, and her career as a professional pianist was launched.

Argerich took the musical world by storm in 1960 at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. In the same year, she made her first recording, including works by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Liszt. A few years later, in 1965, she recorded Chopin's Sonata 3, Polonaise Opus 53, and other short works. Her technique is considered amongst the most formidable of her time, inviting comparison with Vladimir Horowitz. Indeed, her early recordings (made at age 19) of such competition mainstays as the Prokofiev Toccata and Liszt's Sixth Rhapsody remain yardsticks for these works. A continually updated discography [1] is maintained by her many admirers, and Argerich has been tireless in promoting younger pianists, through her annual festival.

Argerich has not played solo concerts since the early years of her career, instead playing concertos, chamber music and accompanying instrumentalists in sonatas. She is noted especially for her recordings of 20th century works by composers such as Sergei Rachmaninov, Olivier Messiaen and Sergei Prokofiev, a notable record pairing Rachmaninov's third piano concerto with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's first. From 1969 to 1973, Argerich was married to conductor Charles Dutoit, with whom she continues to record and perform.