Born in 1944 in Lisbon, Maria João Pires gave her first public performance at the age of 4, played a Mozart Concerto with orchestra at the age of 7, and at the age of 9 received the National Award for Young Musicians. She began her studies of music and piano with Campos Coelho and Francine Benoît, continuing later in Germany, with Rosl Schmid and Karl Engel. In 1970 she won the Beethoven Bicentennial Competition in Brussels. In addition to her concerts, she has made recordings for Erato for fifteen years and Deutsche Grammophon for twenty years.
To celebrate the great pianist’s brilliant career, Deutsche Grammophon have recently released a limited edition of 38 CDs of her recordings of concertos and chamber opuses by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Bach,
Chopin, Grieg, Franck, Debussy and Ravel, many of which have been awarded the Grand Prix du Disque.
Since the 1970s, she has devoted herself to reflecting the influence of art in life, community and education, trying to discover new ways of establishing this way of thinking in society. She has searched for new ways that, respecting the
development of individuals and cultures, encourage the sharing of ideas.
In 1999, she created the Belgais Centre for the Study of the Arts in Portugal. Maria João Pires regularly offers interdisciplinary workshops for professional musicians and music lovers. In the Belgais concert hall concerts and recordings regularly take place. In future these will be shared with the international digital
community (pay and non-pay).
In 2012, in Belgium, she initiated two complementary projects; the Partitura Choirs, a project which creates and develops choirs for children from disadvantaged backgrounds as in Belgium the Hesperos Choir, and the Partitura
Workshops. All of the Partitura projects have the aim to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations by proposing an alternative in a world too often focused on competitiveness. This philosophy is being spread worldwide at Partitura projects and workshops.
The outstanding pianist has toured all over the world as soloist of all major orchestras and most important festivals. Recently, she has again been among the most intensively performing contemporary pianists, with concerts at the Tivolis Koncertsal in Copenhagen, the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, the Barbican Centre and Wigmorehall in London just before the end of the year, St Luke’s Church with the London Symphony Orchestra, Palace of Charles V in Granada, Kurhaus in Meran – Italy, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Philharmonie de Paris, National Music Auditorium in Madrid, Alfried Krupp Hall in Essen, L’Auditori in Barcelona.