Ivo Pogorelich

Croatian pianist (Belgrade, 1958 - )

After many years of silence, pianist Ivo Pogorelich returns to the stage. Enchanting his audience with his impetuous technique and intense playing combined with great sensitivity, he is one of the most exciting pianists of his time.

Son of a double bass player, Ivo Pogorelich began piano at the age of 7 and then studied the instrument at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. At 17, he began studying with pianist Aliza Kezeradze, who taught him the spirit of Beethoven and Liszt's school. He married her in 1980, despite the fact she was more than twenty years older than him. The same year, his performance at the Warsaw Chopin Competition sparked considerable controversy and led to jury member Martha Argerich’s resignation. Thanks to this shattering and mediatized event, Ivo Pogorelich’s career took off. He went on signing a contract with Deutsche Grammophon and embarked on an international career, playing an eclectic repertoire ranging from Scarlatti to 20th century composers. From 1981 to 1995, his stylistically diversified discography suggested personal interpretations that were often debated.

In 1996, his wife died of cancer and Ivo Pogorelich retreated from the world, as well as from public performance and recording.

Having returned to the stage in the new millenium, he has been playing a carefully thought-out repertoire, working with an analytical and almost mystical approach. If his virtuosity is intact, his interpretation radicalized, looking for new sound gems through a reduction in speed of the tempi of the works he performs. The slow pace gives a darker character to his playing and is an invitation to contemplation and meditation during his concerts. In this own way, Pogorelich tries to get as close as possible to the original intentions of each composer.

Such interpretations can sometimes provoke misunderstanding, criticism and rejection by some, but his exceptional musical intelligence makes these re-readings unforgettable. 

Alongside his pianistic activities, Ivo Pogorelich is committed to social causes and created various foundations, both to encourage the launch of young pianists' careers and to finance the construction of a maternity hospital in Sarajevo, as well as to help research into the treatment of a number of pathologies.

Six landmark date in the life of Ivo Pogorelich:

1978: 1st prize at the Alessandro Casagrande Competition in Terni (Italy)
1981: First concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1988: Appointed Ambassador of UNESCO
1993: Founded an international competition with the Ambassador Foundation of Pasadena (California) which promotes young musicians.
1996: Death of his wife Aliza Kezeraze
2015: Deutsche Grammophon published the integral collection of its recordings, rewarded by a Diapason d'or.

Biography from Radio France’s Musical Documentation