Italian musicians in New York series: Maurizio Pollini in conversation with Harvey Sachs.
In a career spanning nearly 60 years Maurizio Pollini is one of the great piano legends. He has a broad repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers and has recorded works from the classical, Romantic and contemporary repertoire to worldwide critical acclaim.
He is particularly renowned for his innovative concert programs which champion works by contemporary composers and contrasts these with those of the Classical and Romantic eras. His recordings of the complete piano works of Schoenberg, and of works by Berg, Webern, Nono, Boulez and Lachenmann are a testament to his great passion for music of the 20th century and beyond. He has won innumerable awards, including Gramophone and Echo Awards, Diapason d’or, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, and Stella d’oro as well as two Grammys.
Maurizio Pollini was born in Milan on 5 January 1942. His father was the famous architect Gino Pollini, one of the leading representatives of Italian rationalism and also an expert violinist. His mother, Renata Melotti, studied piano and singing and was the sister of the well-known sculptor Fausto Melotti, who had a lasting influence on the young Pollini. In 1948 Maurizio Pollini received his first piano lessons from Carlo Lonati. From 1955 until 1959 he continued his studies with Carlo Vidusso and in 1958 he began to study composition with Bruno Bettinelli. In 1960 he was awarded first prize at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw and appeared at La Scala playing Chopin’s First Piano Concerto under Celibidache. Since then Pollini has become one of the most admired and respected pianists of our time and has appeared all over the world with leading orchestras and conductors.