Obituary: Pianist Nelson Freire, 77

Posted on: November 2, 2021

“Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro. He was 77,” writes Hugh Robertson in Tuesday’s (11/2) Limelight magazine (Australia). “Freire was a consummate musician who leaves behind a rich legacy of recordings…. A specialist in Romantic repertoire—especially Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Liszt, [Freire was] born in Boa Esperança, Brazil [and] began piano lessons at the age of three with Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, who had worked with a pupil of Liszt. He made his first public appearance just two years later. His career truly began at the age of 12, at the 1957 Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition, where he performed Beethoven’s Emperor concerto…. In 1964 he won the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London and first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon. Since then he … performed in practically in all of the world’s greatest concert halls and with its finest orchestras…. He … shared a long and deep artistic and personal relationship with Martha Argerich, [they] … performed together multiple times and recorded a number of discs together…. He broke his arm in 2019, and underwent surgery, before the coronavirus pandemic [made] international travel and live performance almost impossible since.”