Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She began her first piano lessons at the age of five with Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Considered a child prodigy, she soon performs in public. In 1955, she moved to Europe and continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland with Seidlhofer, Gulga, Magaloff, Mrs Lipatti et Stefan Askenase. In 1957, she won the Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions, and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. Since then, she has been one of the most prominent pianists in the world both in popularity and ability.
Martha Argerich has been rated highly for her performance of the virtuoso piano literature of the XIX and XX centuries. Her large repertoire includes Bach and Bartok, Beethoven and Messiaen, as well as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Prokofiev, Stravinski, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovski.
Though she is permanently invited by the most prestigious orchestras, conductors and music festivals in Europe, Japan, America and Israel (with Zubin Mehta and Lahav Shani), chamber music takes a significant part of her musical life. She regularly plays and records with Nelson Freire, Alexandre Rabinovitch, Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer, Daniel Barenboim: « This harmony within a group of people gives me a strong and peaceful feeling ».
Martha Argerich has recorded for EMI, Sony, Philips, Teldec, DGG and many of her performances were broadcasted on television worldwide. She has received many awards : “Grammy Award” for Bartok and Prokofiev Concertos, “Gramophon – Artist of the Year”, “Best Piano Concerto Recording of the Year” for Chopin concertos, “Choc” of the Monde de la Musique for her Amsterdam’s recital, “Künstler des Jahres Deutscher Schallplatten Kritik”, “Grammy Award” for Prokofiev’s Cinderella with Mikhael Pletnev and lately a “Grammy Award” for Beethoven Concertos 2 & 3 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado (DGG / Best Instrumental Soloist Performance), “Sunday Times – Record of the Year” and “BBC Music Magazine Award” for her Shostakovitch recording (EMI – 2007). Last recordings: Mozart concertos K466 and K503 with Orchestra Mozart et Claudio Abbado, duo recital with Daniel Barenboim (Deutsche Grammophon.)
Since 1998 she is the Artistic Director of the Beppu Festival in Japan; in 1999 she creates the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires, and in June 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. In 2018, she launched the Martha Argerich Festival in Hamburg.
Martha Argerich has received numerous distinctions: – “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” in 1996 and “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres ” in 2004 by the French Government – “Accademica di Santa Cecilia” in Rome in 1997 – “Musician of the Year” by Musical America 2001 – « The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette » by the Japanese Emperor and the prestigious « Praemium Imperiale » by the Japan Art Association in 2005. – Kennedy Center Honnors by Barack Obama on december 2016 – Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by Sergio Mattarella in October 2018.