Joao Carlos Martins
Joao Carlos Martins
He is also notorious for being an initiator of social programs for underprivileged youth in Latin America. A child prodigy, Brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins began studying the piano with José Kliass at the age of eight. The following year, he won a competition sponsored by the Bach Society of Brazil. Soon thereafter, the legendary Alfred Cortot proclaimed: "With this kind of tone, with the ability of his fingers, he could become very important for the history of piano playing." At the age of 18, he was among the first Latin Americans to be invited to participate in the prestigious Casals Music Festival in Puerto Rico. International attention grew in 1961 when, at 20, he gave a performance of the 48 Preludes and Fugues from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (a work that later became one of his specialties) in his debut concert in Washington, D.C. The reviewers were ecstatic. His name quickly spread throughout the concert world-no surprise to concert-goers in Brazil, who already knew him as a child prodigy.
Three years later he made his New York debut, followed by engagements with all major orchestras in the United States and recitals throughout the world, including sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center). Performing and Conducting Career Recordings of Book I & II for the Connoisseur Society label followed soon thereafter and in 1968 RCA released Ginaster's piano concerto with Martins and the Boston Symphony under Erich Leinsdorf, a widely acclaimed first recording of this work appearing for weeks on Billboard's best seller list. Soon after he was a regular at the Peabody Mason Concert series and Boston Symphony. Between 1979 and 1998, he devoted himself to recording Bach's complete works for keyboard on the Concord Concerto and Labor Records labels. He is considered the best Bach pianist next to Glenn Gould. His collection of the complete keyboard works of Bach, a 20 CD edition released on the Concord Concerto label and the most extensive of its kind ever recorded by a single pianist, resulted in spectacular reviews throughout the world including feature articles and cover stories in some of the most prestigious music magazines. Aside of his awarded performances, in 1981, he was appointed Brazil's Secretary of Culture. Afflicted by injuries and setbacks throughout his mercurial career, João Carlos Martins has shown a remarkable degree of perseverance and determination.
In the meantime, while visiting Bulgaria, Martins was the victim of a random attack by thugs, receiving injuries to his skull and brain, causing the loss of use of his right arm. After undergoing numerous treatments, including a new version of biofeedback therapy on his right arm, he played a triumphant comeback concert in Carnegie Hall in 1996, appearing as soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra, performing Ravel and Ginastera. In early 2000, he undertook an unsuccessful operation in his right hand, which rendered his hand to become essentially useless. Instead of retiring completely from the piano, Martins continued to play using the left hand and one finger of the right hand. After his pianist career finished due to illnesses in both of his hands, he turned to conducting, despite very limited hand-movements. Since then he has been leading hundreds of performances worldwide including acclaimed concerts at Carnegie Hall. Harold Schoenberg, Pulitzer prize-winning music critic of the New York Times said, "His technique sends fireworks in all directions...
he does everything with extraordinary élan." The Boston Globe characterized him as "The most exciting player of Bach on the modern piano to emerge since Glenn Gould," and National Public Radio described Martins' Bach "as is in the same tradition of, say, Furtwängler's Beethoven or Bernstein's Brahms. The pianist has placed such a vivid stamp on the material that it is no longer the composer's alone… It's literally breathtaking.” Movies, Books Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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