Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist, widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the second half of the 20th century.
Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She started playing the piano at age three. At the age of five, she moved to teacher Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Argerich gave her debut concert in 1949 at the age of eight.
The family moved to Europe in 1955, where Argerich studied with Friedrich Gulda in Austria. Juan Perón, then the president of Argentina, made their decision possible by appointing her parents to diplomatic posts in the Argentine Embassy in Vienna. In 1957, she won both the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Competition. It was at the latter that she met Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, whom she would later seek out for lessons during a personal artistic crisis at the age of twenty.
Argerich rose to international prominence when she won the seventh International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1965. In that same year, she debuted in the United States in Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series. In 1960, she had made her first commercial recording.
Since the 1980s, she has staged few solo performances, concentrating instead on concertos and, in particular, chamber music, and collaborating with instrumentalists in sonatas. She is noted especially for her recordings of 20th-century works.
Argerich has also promoted younger pianists, both through her annual festival and through her appearances as a member of the jury at international competitions. She created and has been General Director of the Argerich Music Festival and Encounter in Beppu, Japan, since 1996.
Argerich has been married three times. Her first marriage, to composer-conductor Robert Chen, and with whom she had a daughter, violinist Lyda Chen-Argerich, ended in 1964. From 1969 to 1973, Argerich was married to Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, with whom she had a daughter, Annie Dutoit. Argerich continues to record and perform with Dutoit. In the 1970s she was also briefly married to pianist Stephen Kovacevich, with whom she has a daughter, Stéphanie.
In 1990, Argerich was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Following aggressive treatment at the Providence Saint John's Health Center, which included the removal of part of her lung and use of an experimental vaccine, Argerich's cancer went into remission. In gratitude, Argerich performed a Carnegie Hall recital benefiting the Institute. Source: Wikipedia