MARTHA ARGERICH, piano
"Argerich is a genuine living legend of the classical music world... she plays the piano brilliantly, ferociously and, perhaps, better than anyone else on Earth." (Washington Post)
Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She began her first piano lessons at the age of five with Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Considered a child prodigy, she soon performed in public. In 1955, she moved to Europe and continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland with Seidlhofer, Gulda, Magaloff, Mrs Lipatti and Stefan Askenase. In 1957, she won the Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions, and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. Since then, she has been one of the most prominent pianists in the world, both in popularity and ability.
Martha Argerich has been rated highly for her performance of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her large repertoire includes Bach, Bartók, Beethoven and Messiaen, as well as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Though she is permanently invited by the most prestigious orchestras, conductors and music festivals in Europe, Japan, America and Israel (with Zubin Mehta and Lahav Shani), chamber music occupies a significant place of her musical life. She regularly plays and records with Nelson Freire, Alexandre Rabinovitch, Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer and Daniel Barenboim. "This harmony within a group of people gives me a strong and peaceful feeling," she once said.
Martha Argerich has recorded for EMI, Sony, Philips, Teldec, DGG and many of her performances were broadcasted on television worldwide. She has received many awards : “Grammy Award” for Bartók and Prokofiev Concertos, “Gramophone – Artist of the Year”, “Best Piano Concerto Recording of the Year” for Chopin concertos, “Choc” of the Monde de la Musique for her Amsterdam recital, “Künstler des Jahres Deutscher Schallplatten Kritik”, “Grammy Award” for Prokofiev’s Cinderella with Mikhail Pletnev and a “Grammy Award” for Beethoven Concertos Nos.2 & 3 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado (DGG / Best Instrumental Soloist Performance), “Sunday Times – Record of the Year” and “BBC Music Magazine Award” for her Shostakovich recording (EMI – 2007). Last recordings: Mozart concertos K466 and K503 with Orchestra Mozart and Claudio Abbado, and a duo recital with Daniel Barenboim (Deutsche Grammophon)
Since 1998 she is the Artistic Director of the Beppu Festival in Japan; in 1999 she created the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires; in June 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano; and in 2018 the Martha Argerich Festival in Hamburg.
Martha Argerich has received numerous distinctions:
– “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” in 1996 and “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres ” in 2004 by the French Government
– “Accademica di Santa Cecilia” in Rome in 1997
– “Musician of the Year” by Musical America 2001
– « The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette » by the Japanese Emperor and the prestigious « Praemium Imperiale » by the Japan Art Association in 2005
– Kennedy Center Honors by Barack Obama in December 2019
– Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana by Sergio Mattarella in October 2018
DARÍO ALEJANDRO NTACA,
Piano / Conductor
"Darío Ntaca is an excellent pianist and searching musician... his interpretation of Rachmaninoff´s works show very high standards."
The eldest son of the late piano pedagogue Alejandro Ntaca, Dario A. Ntaca began his piano lessons with his mother, Marta Rossi, and then furthered his studies under his father’s intensive guidance. He also studied orchestral conducting at The Juilliard School with Vincent La Selva and is a graduate of the State University of New York where he studied with Claudio Arrau´s assistant, Germán Diez. When he was 14, Dario had the privilege to meet the legendary Earl Wild, whose pianistic influence as “The Last Romantic” has been vital in his development.
Mr. Ntaca has performed solo recitals in cities such as Paris, Belgrade, Bucharest, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York. In 1985, The New York Times praised his performance at Carnegie Recital Hall. He has served as Music Director at the Guild for International Piano Competitions, being subsequently invited to be a juror at the Palm Beach International Piano Competition from 1991 until 2001. Besides a successful career as a virtuoso pianist and conductor Mr. Ntaca also gave masterclasses in piano and chamber music at the Universidade Federal de Brasilia, National Conservatory of Romania, Guarnerius Art Centre in Serbia, California State University, New England Conservatory in Boston, Florida Atlantic University and the prestigious McGill University in Montréal.
Besides his international engagements, Mr. Ntaca is the founder of the Sinfonietta Argerich, and has been its Music Director since its creation in 2004. He has toured with the Orchestra in Argentina with Martha Argerich as soloist. In addition, Mrs. Argerich and Mr. Ntaca have also appeared in many occasions as a piano duo, performing regularly at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the home for the annual Martha Argerich International Festival.
Mr. Ntaca has been Music Director of the San Luis Orchestra (SLO) in Argentina from 1990 to 1996. His most remarkable activities with the SLO include a US tour in 1992 performing throughout Vermont, Massachusetts and Florida where he played and conducted from the keyboard. Mr. Ntaca has also appeared as pianist and conductor with the Sinfonietta de Paris, Burgas Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Moravian, Russe, Varna and Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestras. He also toured Spain in 1994 with the Oxford Chamber Orchestra.
His piano repertoire includes all the works for piano and orchestra by Rachmaninov which he has performed in major centres throughout the Americas. These performances were acclaimed unanimously by critics and distinguished artists like Martha Argerich and Alexis Weissenberg in 1990. For his performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3, he received the "1983 Concert Award" from the State University of New York and in 1985 he won the Silver Medal at the Mozart International Competition in Colorado.
In 2018, Mr. Ntaca and Martha Argerich made their joint debuts in Southeast Asia with two concerts in Singapore: a two-piano, four-hands recital, followed by a concert with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mr. Ntaca, who also played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453.
Performances in 2019 include Mr. Ntaca’s debut in the Berlin Philharmonie (Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto), with the Havana National Symphony Orchestra (Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto), and a return to Singapore. In January 2019, he conducted a week-long Mozart masterclass in Padua, Italy, focused on the performance of Mozart’s piano concertos and the technique of conducting an orchestra from the piano.
Following interruptions during the pandemic, he resumed solo piano concert activity, culminating in a reunion with Martha Argerich in 2021 to play two-piano concerts in Nuremberg, Germany and St. Gallen, Switzerland.
YUNCHAN LIM, piano
In June 2022, Yunchan Lim became the youngest person ever to win gold at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; his performances throughout showcased a “magical ability” and a “natural, instinctive quality” (La Scena) that astounded listeners around the world.
Just 18 years old, Yunchan’s ascent to international stardom has been meteoric. His audacious Cliburn Semifinal Round performance of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes “created a buzz throughout the international piano community” – his “intelligent virtuosity and total immersion into Liszt’s idiom truly defined transcendental” (Gramophone). And his final Cliburn Competition appearance with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 delivered the defining moment of the three-week event; as one critic noted: “The applause that followed was endless: a star had emerged before our eyes” (Seen and Heard International).
Born in Siheung, Korea, Yunchan Lim began piano lessons at age. He entered the Music Academy of the Seoul Arts Center the next year and quickly became immersed in his musical studies. He auditioned for and was accepted into the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts at age 13, where he met his teacher and mentor, Minsoo Sohn. Yunchan entered the international music stage a year later, in 2018, winning second prize and the Chopin Special Award in his first-ever competition, the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists. Also that year, he stood out as the youngest participant in the Cooper International Competition, where he won both third prize and the audience prize, and was provided the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra. The next year, 2019, brought more accolades, when, at the age of 15, he was the youngest to win Korea’s IsangYun International Competition, also taking home two special prizes.
Yunchan has since performed across South Korea – including with the Korean Orchestra Festival, Korea Symphony, Suwon Philharmonic, and Busan Philharmonic Orchestras, among others – as well as in Madrid, at the invitation of the Korea Cultural Center in Spain. He also participated in the recording of “2020 Young Musicians of Korea,” organized by the Korean Broadcasting System and released that November. His 2022–2023 inaugural tour as Cliburn winner will take him across four continents. Also coming soon: the release of his debut studio recording on the Steinway label.
Speaking at a press conference after the Competition, Yunchan said, “I made up my mind that I will live my life only for the sake of music, and I decided that I will give up everything for music… I wanted my music to become deeper, and if that desire reached the audience, I’m satisfied.”
He is currently in his second year at the Korea National University of Arts, where he continues to study with Mr. Sohn.
LYDA CHEN ARGERICH, viola
Born in Geneva, Lyda Chen Argerich first studied violin in the Geneva Music Conservatory with Ayla Erduran. She then took classes with Professor Lin Yaoji at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. On her return from China she began to study law and humanities at the Geneva University and obtained a law degree.
Later she found many affinities with the viola and its repertoire. Mostly self-taught in the instrument, she started to perform in different groups, followed string quartet class of Gabor Takács and received a diploma of chamber music at the Geneva Music Conservatory. She perfected her studies with Professor Marie-Françoise Pallot from the Boulogne Conservatory.
Some musical encounters with her mother Martha Argerich opened the way to further experience in music performing with many fantastic performers. She played at Verbier Festival, La Roque D’Antheron, Viviers, les Folles Journées de Nantes, Chambery, Salzburg Festspielen and Progetto Argerich in Lugano.
She played chamber music concerts in Tokyo Triphony and Sumida Halls, Teatro Colon, Salle Pleyel, Salzburg Mozarteum and played as soloist in the Zürich Tonhalle, the Teatros del Circulo and San Juan in Argentina. She has enjoyed playing as invited guest in various orchestras such as Japan New Philharmonic Orchestra della RSI, China All Star Orchestra, West Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Since 2014 she has been playing as soloist and conducting professional orchestras in France and China. She was invited to play recitals and give viola and chamber music masterclasses for music schools and Conservatories in Spain, China, Argentina, Switzerland, Bolivia and Kazakhstan.
EMI recordings from the Lugano Festival include Beethoven, Dvorak, Schumann, Faure quartets, Franck and Chostakovich quintets with partners such as Ivry Gitlis, Mischa Maisky, Martha Argerich, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and Gabriela Montero.
DAVID CHEN, piano
David Chen was born in 2008 in a family of musicians. His father is the pianist and composer Vladimir Sverdlov-Ashkenazy, his mother is Lyda Chen Argerich who is a viola player and a lawyer, and his two grandmothers are Professor Elena Ashkenazy and the celebrated pianist Martha Argerich.
Already at a young age, David Chen is a winner of piano competitions such as the "Karl Adler Jugend Musikwettbewerb" in Germany 2018 in which he received the First Prize with distinction and the First Prize with distinction at the "Swiss Youth Music Competition" in piano and piano duo in 2019. David has participated in many festivals such as the "Progetto Martha Argerich" in Lugano, Switzerland in 2016 where he performed four-hands pieces together with his grandmother, Martha Argerich. In 2019 David Chen performed at “Argerich's Meeting Point" in Beppu, Japan and at the "Martha Argerich Festival" in Hamburg, Germany in 2019.
David Chen currently lives in Geneva and studies in the advanced musical programme of the Geneva Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Professor Serguei Milstein.