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Nelson Freire

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Nelson Freire (born October 18, 1944) is a Brazilian classical pianist.

Freire began playing the piano when he was three years old, amazing everyone around him by replaying from memory pieces his elder sister had just performed. His teachers in Brazil were Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, who had studied with a pupil of Liszt. For his first public recital at the age of five, Freire chose Mozart’s Sonata in A major, K. 331.

In 1957, Freire’s performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, at the age of 12, was awarded 7th place at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition by a jury which included Marguerite Long, Guiomar Novaes and Lili Kraus. Following the competition, he left for Vienna to study with Bruno Seidlhofer (who also taught Friedrich Gulda). In 1964, Freire won first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Piano Competition in Lisbon, as well as receiving the Lipatti Medal and the Harriet Cohen Medal in London.

Freire began his international career in 1959 with recitals and concerts in the major cities of Europe, the United States, Central and South America, Japan and Israel.

He has worked and toured with many of today’s leading conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Eugen Jochum, Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Masur, André Previn, David Zinman, Vaclav Neumann, Valery Gergiev, Rudolf Kempe, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Hans Graf, Hugh Wolff, Roberto Carnevale, John Nelson, Seiji Ozawa and Riccardo Chailly.

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