Nelson Freire

Biography

Nelson Freire pianist

The Brazilian pianist shuns publicity and interviews and let's his brilliant music making speak for itself.

  • Born 8 October 1944, Freire began playing the piano at the age of 3, recalling from memory pieces he had heard his older sister just perform.
  • He gave his first public recital at the age of four, playing Mozart's Sonata in A major.
  • In 1957, aged 12, Freire performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, and came seventh at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition.
  • By 1964, he had won his first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon, Portugal and he also received the Dinu Lipatti Medal and the Harriet Cohen Medal in London.
  • Freire tends to avoid the limelight, publicity, and interviews. But in 2011, he withdrew from a scheduled engagement with the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira in support of the orchestra musicians, following the dismissal of some three dozen of them.
  • Freire has recorded commercially with Martha Argerich, with whom he shares a long-time musical collaboration and friendship.
  • His two album set of the Brahms piano concertos with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly won the 2007 Gramophone Awards for the Record of the Year and Concerto categories.

Did you know?

An archived recording of Freire at the age 12-13 includes his 1957 live concert performance in the final round of the Rio de Janeiro Piano Competition of that year, which launched his career, as well as pieces he recorded immediately after the competition.

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