“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…”
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-New York Times
“ The ordinary and the easily consumable are simply not an option for this visionary of the 88 keys.”
Born in Belgrade in 1958, the son of a musician, Ivo Pogorelich started his musical education when he was seven, making, his solo concert debut at the very young age of 10. As an outstanding talent he continues his education in Moscow, where he spent the following ten years first attending the Central Special Music School, and then, studying at the P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory. However, a radical shift in his artistic development occurred after meeting the prominent Georgian pianist and pedagogue, Alisa Kezeradze, with whom he began an intense and fruitful professional cooperation in 1976. Thanks to her, Pogorelich redefined his technique by adopting the knowledge gained from the Western tradition of the Russian piano school to which she belonged. The exclusivity of acquired knowledge, based on the generational line, the seventh after Beethoven and fifth after Liszt, would make Pogorelich stand out and guarantee him a special place in the historic constellation of world pianism.
Ivo Pogorelich experienced the first in a series of major successes as early as the mid-seventies, when he won a state competition in Zagreb in 1975, followed by a two-months long tour around the USA with the Dubrovnik Festival Orchestra. Only a few months later saw his first important international achievement when he won the Alessandro Casagrande Piano Competition in Terni (Italy). Pogorelich attracted even greater attention from the world music public in 1980 as the laureate of the prestigious 14th International Piano Competition in Montreal, where he gave a spectacular performance of Sergey Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto in the finals. That same year, Pogorelich also participated in the 10th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, where, for reasons which have never been fully explained, he was eliminated before the final round. This controversial and unfounded decision resulted in dissatisfaction among certain members of the jury, who left the competition in protest, while pianist Martha Argerich explained her decision to leave by declaring Pogorelich a genius.
On the wave of the enormous interest he attracted at the Chopin competition thanks to his unorthodox interpretations, astounding technique and innovative approach to interpreting the literature, Pogorelich gained recognition as a pianist of exceptional capacities and, above all, contemporary spirit. Responding to invitations from numerous prestigious concert houses, he begin an intensive series of concerts in Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. His debut in New York Carnegie Hall in 1981 was followed by sensational solo performances on the world’s most important stages, as well as those with renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker, the London, Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the Tonhalle and Cocertgebouw orchestras to name but a few.
In addition to his forty-year-long rich and diverse professional career on the world’s stages, Ivo Pogorelich is also socially engaged, primarily in humanitarian work and helping young artists. In order to support young musicians, Pogorelich set up the Fund for Young Musicians in Zagreb in 1986, but also the manifestations intended to promote concert artists at the beginning of their careers, such as “Ivo Pogorelich” international music festival in Bad Wörishofen in Germany in 1989, and “Ivo Pogorelich International Solo Piano Competition” in Pasadena, USA, in 1993. For his versatile engagement in representing and promoting the highest values of culture, art and education in the widest international context, Pogorelich was also the first classical musician, to receive the honour of being named UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador in 1988. While respecting his mentioned contributions, “Manhattan International Music Competition” established in New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2016, appointed Ivo Pogorelich its honorary president and named the main prize after him.
As an exclusive artist of Deutsche grammophon record label between 1981 and 1998, Ivo Pogorelich released the extensive discography including 14 albums and 3 videos with interpretations of pieces from a wide stylistic range, from the music of baroque composers to those of 20th-century artists. These extraordinary editions of anthological value and cult status in classical music were awarded the prestigious French Diapason d’Or award shortly after release of the box set with Pogorelich’s complete recordings for that label, in 2015.
In August 2019 Ivo Pogorelich released his first studio recordings in 20 years for Sony Classical record label. The album includes sonatas by L. v. Beethoven and S. Rachmaninoff which Pogorelich has chosen to explore the profound influence of Beethoven’s revolutionary compositional techniques on a later generation of composers. This album received a very positive reviews reaching high positions in the classical music charts in Europe.