One of the finest musicians of her generation, Maria João Pires continues to transfix audiences with the spotless integrity, eloquence, and vitality of her art.
She 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 10 years she has held many workshops with students from all round 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 is working with a group of highly gifted young pianists, and together under the impetus of Maria João Pires they have initiated the 'Partitura Project'. The aim of this project is to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations and to offer an alternative in a world too often focused on competitiveness. Hand in hand with this project is the project 'Equinox', also headed by Maria João, which is a social programme for young disadvantaged children between the ages of 6 and 14 years who are being helped through choral singing. Both projects are integrated under the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel umbrella.
In the 2015/16 season Maria João performs with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (on tour, conducted by Trevor Pinnock), Tonkunstlerorchester, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, London Symphony Orchestra (on tour, conducted by Daniel Harding), San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. She continues chamber music performances with Antonio Meneses and Augustin Dumay. Recitals as part of the Partitura Project include performances throughout Europe, in Canada and Japan.
Maria João has a large and varied discography including, solo, chamber music and orchestral repertoire. Recent recordings include Beethoven Piano Concertos 3 and 4 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding on Onyx. For her 70th birthday in summer 2014, Erato re-released many of her wonderful recordings from the 1970s and 1980s, and Deutsche Grammophon also released a box set of her complete solo recordings for them.