Born in Brazil in 1944, Nelson Freire studied with Nixe Obino and Lucia Branco. He gave his first recital at the age of five and aged twelve, he won the International Rio de Janeiro Comptition. He left for Vienna to perfect his studies with Bruno Seidlhofer and in 1964 in Lisbon, he won the first prize of the International Vianna de Motta Competition and the Dinu Lipatti and Harriet Cohen gold medals in London.
His international career began in 1959. Since then he has regularly played with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestsra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, French National Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, the Suisse Romande Orchestra and all the great American orchestras including the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York and Philadelphia conducted by Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Mazur, André Previn, David Zinman, Vaclav Neumann, Valery Gergiev, Rudolf Kempe. Nelson Freire has been a regular guest at all the greatest festivals in Europe, the United States and Israel. He frequently performs as a duo with Martha Argerich.
Nelson Freire has recorded a very large repertoire for CBS, Teldec, Philips and Deutsche Grammophon. His recording of Chopin’s twenty-four preludes was awarded the Edison prize. He is now an exclusive artist with Decca who recently released their recording of his Brahms Piano Concertos No. 1 and 2 with the Gewandhaus conducted by Riccardo Chailly and his Chopin Nocturnes.
© James McMillan