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Biography

Piano

Maria João Pires was born in 1944 in Lisbon and gave her first public performance in 1948. Since 1970 she has dedicated herself to reflecting on the influence of art on life, community, and education, and in trying to develop new ways of implementing pedagogic theories within society. In the last ten years she has held many workshops with students from around the world, and has taken her philosophy and teaching to Japan, Brazil, Portugal, France, and Switzerland. 

More recently she joined the teaching faculty of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium where she works with a group of highly gifted young pianists. Ms. Pires has initiated the Partitura Project, whose aim is to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations. Hand in hand with this project is the Equinox project, also headed by Ms. Pires, a social program for disadvantaged children between the ages of six and fourteen who are helped through choral singing. Both projects are integrated under the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel umbrella.

In the 2015-16 season Ms. Pires tours with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the London Symphony Orchestra and performs with the Tonkünstler Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, and the Swedish Radio Symphony. She gives chamber music performances with cellist Antonio Meneses and violinist Augustin Dumay. Recitals as part of the Partitura Project include performances throughout Europe, Canada, and Japan. She makes her San Francisco Symphony debut with these performances.

Maria João Pires has a large and varied discography including, solo, chamber music, and orchestral repertory. Recent recordings include Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 with the Swedish Radio Symphony and Daniel Harding on the Onyx label. For her 70th birthday in summer 2014, Erato re-released many of her recordings from the 1970s and 1980s, and Deutsche Grammophon also released a box set of her complete solo recordings on the label. 

(February 2016)