Martha Argerich drops out, conductor steps in

Martha Argerich drops out, conductor steps in


norman lebrecht

September 08, 2018

Hours before a Mi-To Festival concert in Milan with the Youth Orchestra of the State of Bahia ‘Neojiba’, the soloist pulled out.

The concert was sold out, the audience waiting. What to do?

The evening’s conductor Ricardo Castro stepped in to play the Schumann concerto, directing from the keyboard.

Marta had played the concerto the night before in Montreux without apparent discomfort.

UPDATE: Martha suffers fall.


  • Brian says:

    Not to have a back-up pianist on standby for an Argerich concert would be foolish. It sounds like the orchestra had a smart solution (and a cost-effective one at that).

  • Gabriel says:

    what happened? why did she leave?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I’d love to hear the conversation where that decision was first communicated.

  • Rolf-Peter Wille says:

    Verily, a “me too” conductor at the Mi-To Festival! Besides playing Schumann he could have sung Flotow: Martha, Martha, tu sparisti.

  • Olassus says:

    What reason was given?

  • Peter says:

    I saw a (student) concert once where the conductor had to fill in one of the vocal solo parts due to a last minute unavailability (whether illness or concert nerves I cant remember). Conductor did an admirable job, but looked terribly awkward twisting sideways to try and face the orchestra while also projecting some voice towards the audience. Making the best of a difficult situation.

  • V.Lind says:

    More fools them for booking her.

    • Colin says:

      Exactly!! I’ve no sympathy for any organisation which engages such an unreliable pianist.

      • Frances says:

        She fell in the bathroom and hurt her wrists, back, and head. Not sure she could have played even if she had wanted to.

        • V.Lind says:

          Akane says:
          September 9, 2018 at 12:28 pm

          She is actually playing this afternoon at
          Septembre musical at Montreux with Charles
          Dutoit and European philharmonic of Switzerland the Liszt concerto no.1

          No word so far of cancellation from Montreux.

          • Lisztserve says:

            This isn’t the first time Argerich has pulled out of a concert. Anticipating that possibility, I would still risk buying a ticket in the hope of witnessing a performance by an immortal player. .Sometimes, there even occurs other
            magic unexpectedly: Another time that Martha cancelled, Yuja Wang stepped in and was introduced to music audiences as a soon-to-be world-class performer!