Portrait of famous pianist Maria-Joao Pires in her village of Belgaïs, in Portugal, where she created a foundation, a meeting place for artists, musicians and locals.
Born in Lisbon in 1944, Maria Joao Pires studied piano in the conservatory of her birth town. She gave her first concert at four years old and in 1970 won the first prize in the Beethoven Competition in Brussels, making her famous overnight. Since then, she has performed in Europe, Japan, Israel, the United States and in Canada, as a soloist, in chamber formation or with the biggest orchestras despite her repugnance for the life of the international artist. What she prefers is the simple country life, that's also where she adds pieces to her repertoire.
Numerous recordings bear witness to her talent: the piano sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven, recordings of Bach, Schubert, Chopin and Grieg... and chamber music by Mozart, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel... She's a very active star in Portugal where she promotes generous causes. For example, she founded the centre of studies for Belgais Arts on an isolated farm where young artists meet and work.