Maria-Joao Pires

28 janvier 2002
02m 32s
Ref. 00304


Summary :

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.

Media type :
Broadcast date :
28 janvier 2002
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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.

Michel Coupard


David Pujadas
A colourful person, she performs very few concerts, she prefers to devote herself to her foundation, which is located in her small Portuguese village, a place where artists and musicians and locals meet. Pianist Maria Joao Pires will be in Paris tomorrow night for a rare concert. She was willing to meet us in her home, in the village of Belgais, near Castello Branco. Michel Mompontet, Jean-Louis Melin.
Michel Mompontet
Forty minutes of trails, sand, gravel, the least populated place in Europe, here is where Maria Joao Pires, the piano star, has been living for the last sixteen year, far from concert halls. This is where we expect to meet her, this legendary pianist, and all we find is a busy and happy woman in the middle of her fields. At first, it's hard to believe that this woman is the same as this one.
Maria Joao Pires
My role isn't to have a career, of course not. I've had a career to earn money, to do this.
Michel Mompontet
This is the cultural centre of Belgais, its work. All of the money I've raked in during twenty years of triumphant tours has been swallowed up by this dream. Here, artists can come spend time meeting and listening to each other if they wish, far from the demands and the urgency of show business, coupled with a sort of idea of musical joy. You really like to laugh, and I meet many pianists who don't like to laugh.
Maria Joao Pires
Michel Mompontet
Do you want the list?
Maria Joao Pires
I think that I know it. Maybe they don't have many reasons to laugh, but I have a few more. I live here freely.
Michel Mompontet
The freedom to have stayed here alone each night for six months, alone with Beethoven's thirty-two sonatas, recorded here, at her home. And now, at the height of the history of piano, more than a version, a new intimacy.