Born in Brazil, Nelson Freire began his piano studies at the age of three with Nise Obino and Lúcia Branco, who was a pupil of Liszt. He made his first public appearance at the age of five with Mozart’s Sonata in A, K.331. In 1957, after winning a grant at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition with his performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto”, he went to Vienna to study with Bruno Seidlhofer, a teacher of Friedrich Gulda. Seven years later he won the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London and the 1st prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon.
His international career began in 1959, taking him to Europe, the USA, Central and South America, Japan and Israel.
He has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Pierre Boulez, Lionel Bringuier, Riccardo Chailly, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur and Seiji Ozawa. He has appeared with the greatest orchestras, among them the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, London, New York and Israel, as well as with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and orchestras in Munich, Paris, Tokyo and St Petersburg (including the Mariinsky Orchestra).
In 2003 a film was released about the pianist – Nelson Freire: A Man and His Music. In March 2007 Freire received the title of Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2011 he became a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur – France’s most prestigious order for international citizens.
Engagements for the 2018–19 season include a recital at Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, performances with the Belgian National Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in Monte-Carlo and La Roque d’Anterone and the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw.
Nelson Freire has recorded for the Sony/CBS, Teldec, DGG, IPAM, Philips and London labels. He is currently an exclusive artist for Decca. For his recordings he has received numerous prizes, including the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros and the Latin GRAMMY prize (for the album Brasileiro, 2012). His Bach recital recording won the prestigious Echo prize as the best solo recording of 2016. In September 2017 he released a CD dedicated to Brahms.
Information for June 2019