Piano legend Ivo Pogorelich has been one of the most important figures in his field for four decades now. An artist who has always searched for solutions that are not at all familiar, and who calls for listening habits to be put aside and for existential and uncompromising interpretations to be put beyond the mainstream – a gripping storyteller who knows how to breathe life and meaning into every note – a monolith among pianists, a musician who has something to say.
Born in Belgrade in 1958 as the son of a double bass player, Ivo Pogorelich received his first piano lessons at the age of seven and continued his musical studies at the Central Music School in Moscow and then at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory from the age of twelve. After five years, however, he moved to Aliza Kezeradze, a pianist and teacher who was to open up a completely new musical world for him and whom he married in 1980. Both were linked by a long professional collaboration until Aliza Kezeradze’s untimely death in 1996.
Madame Kezeradze was able to pass on to Ivo Pogorelich the spirit of Beethoven’s and Liszt’s school, which flourished at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, had its roots in Vienna and reached as far as St. Petersburg.
Already in 1978 Ivo Pogorelich won first prize at the Alessandro Casagrande Competition in Terni (Italy) and two years later won first prize at the International Music Competition in Montreal. But it was another competition that spectacularly made him world-famous overnight in 1980: at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in October 1980, he was not allowed to perform as soloist with orchestra in the final round, whereupon Martha Argerich, then a member of the jury, followed by other members of the jury, left the competition after fierce controversies in protest with the words “He is a genius!” This helped Ivo Pogorelich to become better known than winning the coveted prize.
After his triumphant debut recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1981, Ivo Pogorelich shone with sensational performances in the most important concert halls in the USA and on four continents. Invitations from exceptional orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, all the major London orchestras, the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the New York Phiharmonic Orchestra and many other renowned orchestras have taken Ivo Pogorelich to the musical metropolises of the world.
Wherever and whenever he performs, his breathtaking interpretations confirm the originality of his talent and intellect. The New York Times compared Ivo Pogorelich to Horowitz and wrote: “He played every note exactly, with such a feeling, with so much expression. He was a whole orchestra. He played as if he was 200 years ahead of his time.” Committed to this sense, Ivo Pogorelich is today regarded as a sound poet of opposites and enjoys a status that many consider legendary.
His audience now unites the most diverse generations in their enthusiasm for the charismatic maestro. Ivo Pogorelich regularly gives concerts in the music centres of Europe, China and Japan. In the 2019/20 season he will be performing in Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, Zurich, Prague, Turin, Rome, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka and many other cities.
Ivo Pogorelich has recorded an impressive number of CDs with Deutsche Grammophon, with a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the Classical and Romantic periods and into the 20th century. In March 2015, Deutsche Grammophon published the completed early work in a comprehensive edition “Pogorelich Complete Recordings”, which has already been awarded the Diapason d’Or in France. In spring 2019, Ivo Pogorelich signed an exclusive contract with Sony Classical. In August 2019, his new recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor op. 36 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas No. 22 in F major op. 54 and No. 24 in F sharp major op. 78 was released.
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