Ivo Pogorelich was born in Belgrade in 1958 as son of a musician. He received his first piano lessons at the age of seven and went to Moscow at the age of twelve to study at the Central Special Music School and then at the Tchaikowsky Conservatory.
In 1976 he began intensive studies with the renowned pianist and teacher Aliza Kezeradze, with whom he was married from 1980 until her untimely death in 1996.
Mme. Kezeradze was able to transmit the spirit and matter of the school of Beethoven and Liszt, originated in Vienna and than carried through to the Conservatory of St. Petersburg, flourishing towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th. Century.
Ivo Pogorelich won the first prize at the Alessandro Casagrande Competition at Terni (Italy) in 1978 and the first price at the Montreal International Music Competition in 1980.
In October of the same year he entered the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw where, when prevented from participating in the final contest as a soloist with the orchestra, a fierce controversy resulted in the renowned argentinian pianist Martha Argerich, a member of the jury, protesting and leaving the competition, joined by other members of the jury panel, with the words “He is a genius”. This event drew the attention of the whole musical world to the young pianist.
This event, unique in the history of piano competitions, had a meteoric rise in the world music community, which recognised Ivo Pogorelich as the true winner of the competition.
On the wave of the enormous interest caused by his exclusion from the Chopin Competition, Pogorelich was then invited to perform with the most important orchestras, beginning a career that continues to this day with concerts in the world's most prestigious halls and with numerous major orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, all the London Orchestras, the Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, New York Philharmonic Orchestras of the U.S. and major orchestras elsewhere. Wherever and whenever he plays, his stunning interpretations of the music confirm the originality of his talent and intellect.
The New York Times once wrote “He played each note exactly, with such a feeling, such expression, he was an entire orchestra– it was as if he played 200 years ahead of our time”.
In this spirit Ivo Pogorelich is known today as a poet of the instrument.
In 1994, the pianist set up a foundation in Sarajevo to raise money to rebuild a maternity hospital in the city. Ivo Pogorelich gives charity concerts in support of, for example the Red Cross or the fight against illnesses, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, among other projects. One of such is to offer his advise to young artists by occasionally giving masterclasses. In 1987 he received the honour of being named an “Ambassador of Goodwill” by UNESCO.
In addition to his concert activity, Pogorelich also makes recordings, recording 14 albums for Deutsche Grammophon.
After several years of absence from the recording studios, Pogorelich has returned to recording for Sony Classical and in August 2019 a CD with works by Beethoven and Rachmaninov was released and in 2022, again for Sony, a CD dedicated to Chopin.
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