“The Steinway is unique, since it gives to the pianist the possibility to be a poet, in the broadest sense of the word.”
Born in Boa Esperança, a small town in Brazil, Nelson Freire (1944–2021) was a universally acclaimed artist, regularly collaborating with top orchestras, conductors, and recital halls worldwide. At twelve, he was a finalist at the first International Piano Competition of Rio de Janeiro, where he received a grant from Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek and went to study in. At nineteen, Freire was awarded the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London and later won 1st Prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon.
At twenty-three for his London debut, he made a sensation when The Times called him “the young lion of the keyboard”. The following year, after his New York debut with the New York Philharmonic, Time Magazine hailed him as “one of the most exciting pianists of this or any age.” Nelson Freire performed with many of the world's major conductors, such as Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Charles Dutoit, Eugen Jochum, André Previn, Lorin Maazel, Rudolf Kempe, Rafael Kubelik, David Zinman, Kurt Masur, and Sir Colin Davis. He appeared with the greatest orchestras: the Philharmonics of Berlin, London, New York, and Israel, as well with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the orchestras of Munich, Paris, Tokyo, St. Petersburg — including the Mariinsky — Vienna, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Montreal.
Photo: Mat Hennek