Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She began her first piano lessons at the age of five with Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Considered a child prodigy, she soon performed in public. In 1955, she moved to Europe and continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland with Seidlhofer, Gulda, Magaloff, Mrs iLipatti and Stefan Askenase. In 1957, she won the Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions, and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. Since then, she has been one of the most prominent pianists in the world both in popularity and ability.
Argerich has been rated highly for her performance of the virtuoso piano literature of the XIX and XX centuries. Her large repertoire includes Bach and Bartok, Beethoven and Messiaen, as well as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky.
Though she is constantly invited by the most prestigious orchestras, conductors and music festivals in Europe, Japan and America, chamber music takes a significant part of her musical life. She regularly plays and records with pianists Nelson Freire and Alexandre Rabinovitch, cellist Mischa Maisky and violonist Gidon Kremer: "This harmony within a group of people gives me a strong and peaceful feeling".
Argerich has recorded for EMI, Sony, Philips, Teldec, DGG and many of her performances were broadcasted on television worldwide. She has received many awards: aGrammy Award for Bartok and Prokofiev Concertos, Gramophone - Artist of the Year, Best Piano Concerto Recording of the Year for Chopin concertos, Choc of the Monde de la Musique for her Amsterdam recital, Künstler des Jahres from the Deutsche Schallplatten Kritik, a further Grammy Award for Prokofiev's Cinderella with Mikael Pletnev and this year's Grammy Award for Beethoven Concertos 2 & 3 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado (DGG / Best Instrumental Soloist Performance).
Since 1998, she has been the Artistic Director of the Beppu Festival in Japan; in 1999 she created the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires, and in June 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano.
She has received numerous distinctions, including Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996 and Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004 from the French Government; Accademica di Santa Cecilia in Rome in 1997; Musician of the Year by Musical America in 2001; The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Japanese Emperor; and the prestigious Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association in 2005.