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Piano great Martha Argerich cancels German and Swiss shows over illness

AFP
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Piano great Martha Argerich cancels German and Swiss shows over illness
Martha Argerich was due to play at a festival in Lucerne, pictured here. Photo by Jovana Askrabic on Unsplash

Celebrated Argentina-born pianist Martha Argerich has cancelled concerts in Germany and Switzerland in the coming days due to illness, organisers of the shows said Wednesday.

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The 82-year-old, considered one of the world's best pianists, is scheduled to play a series of shows with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Argentinian-Israeli star Daniel Barenboim.

The Cologne Philharmonic said in a statement however that she will not be playing there on Saturday (August 12th) while the Lucerne Festival said separately that she will be absent from the show planned on Tuesday, August 15th.

In both cases, German pianist Igor Levit will take her place to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major.

The next outing on the tour, at the Salzburg Festival on August 17th, appears to be maintained for now, according to the organisers' website.

No details were provided about Argerich's illness.

Dubbed the "lioness" for her impressive long, grey mane, Argerich is also known as the "tigress of the keyboard" for her animal-like vitality.

Born on June 5th, 1941 in Buenos Aires, she began playing the piano at the age of three and gave her first concert with an orchestra aged eight.

She moved to Europe with her family in 1955, learning from some of the continent's top pianists. At the age of 16, in the space of 10 days she won two major music competitions in Bolzano, Italy and in Geneva, later becoming a naturalised Swiss citizen.

A star, she was invited to concert halls around the world and started releasing now legendary recordings of concertos and other works by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.

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Her success was sealed when, in 1965, she won Poland's prestigious Chopin piano competition.

For nearly two decades from the 1980s, Argerich largely shunned solo performances, saying they made her feel lonely, and playing almost exclusively with orchestras and chamber ensembles until a sold-out recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2000 in aid of a cancer charity.

In remission from cancer herself, which she suffered in the 1990s, she cancelled for health reasons a series of concerts in 2017.

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