January 5, 1942 - Milan (Italy)
© Mathias Bothor / Deutsche Grammophon
Maurizio Pollini is one of the best pianists of our time, a legendary performer of Chopin, Schumann, and Schubert. Discover his music on medici.tv!
Born in 1942 in Milan (Italy), Maurizio Pollini gave his first piano concert aged ten. He was a pupil of Carlo Lonati and Carlo Vidusso, at the Milan Conservatory. The Italian pianist was only 15 when he received second prize at the International Performance Competition of music in Geneva (being second only to Martha Argerich). In 1960, he won awards at the prestigious International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, declared winner of the competition by none other than Arthur Rubinstein. Since then, Maurizio Pollini has received regular invitations from the greatest concert halls in Europe, America, and Japan, and across the years the Italian pianist has emerged as one of the best classical music pianists of the century.
He regularly plays with the most famous conductors, including Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Sergiu Celibidache, Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Pollini has also championed and performed works by contemporary composers, such as Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Benjamin, Roberto Carnevale, Gianluca Cascioli, and Bruno Maderna—alongside Luigi Nono’s … sofferte onde serene …, Giacomo Manzoni’s Masse: omaggio a Edgard Varèse, and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Fifth Sonata. Interestingly, Pollini stated that his intention was to express the composer’s wishes as precisely as possible, while not being influenced by his own emotions, nor his own biography.
In 1995, he inaugurated a festival in Tokyo dedicated to Pierre Boulez. The same year and once more in 1999, the Salzburg Festival entrusted him with their concert series programme which, in tune with his multiple centers of interest, covered diverse eras and genres, from masterpieces of polyphony to premieres commissioned from contemporary composers.
Maurizio Pollini’s repertoire spans from J.S. Bach to contemporary and present day music and includes Beethoven’s complete sonatas cycle, which he played from 1993 to 1997 in Berlin, Monaco, Milan, New York, London, Vienna, and Paris—and you can retrieve many Pollini performances of Beethoven’s works, including the Choral Phantasy and the Piano Concerto No. 4, on medici.tv! Maurizio Pollini has exclusively recorded his Classical and Romantic repertoire, Schoenberg’s complete piano works as well as works by Berg, Webern, Nono, Manzoni, Boulez, and Stockhausen for Deutsche Grammophon. In 2002, Deutsche Grammophon edited a presentation box containing thirteen CDs to celebrate Maurizio Pollini’s sixtieth birthday and thirty years exclusive recordings with their company.
In 2014, the project of recording Beethoven’s 31 sonatas was completed with the publication of sonatas Op. 31 and 49. To mark the occasion, a box of 8 albums was released containing all the recordings made since 1975 (the year of recording for sonata 101, 106, 109, 110, and 111). In March 2022, Pollini canceled all his forthcoming concerts for health reasons, but on 29 May, he was back in Turin (Italy), at the Unione Musicale, for the first time in 15 years, playing Schubert and Chopin. The concert revenues were devoted to the Italian Red Cross and the Ukrainian people. At the end of the year, the maestro performed in a recital in Florence (Italy), at the Theater of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, under the baton of Zubin Mehta, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27. On 13 February 2023, he was in recital once more at La Scala in Milan.
Maurizio Pollini’s recordings have received numerous international awards including, in February 2007, a Grammy for the best International Soloist Performance, as well as a Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Victoire de la Musique, and a Diapason d’Or. He was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in 2010 and he entered the Gramophone Hall of Fame in 2012. His last recording of Chopin’s Nocturnes (Deutsche Grammophon) has elicited enormous enthusiasm from both critics and the public alike—find his performance of Chopin in our superb archives videos.