Breaking: Top pianist smashes shoulder in street fall

Breaking: Top pianist smashes shoulder in street fall


norman lebrecht

October 31, 2019

We’re receiving reports from Brazil that Nelson Freire has fractured an elbow and shoulder bone in a street fall in Rio.

Freire, 75, will require surgery and will be out for the rest of the year. Among his cancelled engagements are Girona, Elmau, London, Amsterdam, Lyon and St Petersburg.

We wish him a full recovery.


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Pray for full recovery. One of our international treasures and most beloved pianist, dear Nelson.

  • Charles says:

    I thought he cancelled his London show nearly 3 months ago?

    • John G. says:

      Well, is his current excuse sufficient!

      • Charles says:

        No, not at all. But the article mentions that he has cancelled a series of concerts because of his injury, including London.

        I just pointed out that this concert was cancelled months ago, just as a statement of fact. I had been looking forward to the programme, so was disappointed that he was not able to come.

  • Karl says:

    I hope he gets well, but I fear at age 75 recovery will be difficult. Which shoulder and elbow, right or left? If it’s his right arm and it never recovers he could play the left hand repertoire.

    • esfir ross says:

      The age not always an obstacle to recover. Good diet with a lot of calcium help. I keep hope and ticket for his April concert.

    • Eduardo says:

      Why so pessimistic!!
      Let’s wish him a fast recovery! He will play again!

      • Karl says:

        Sorry to be a Debbie Downer guys. I hope he plays again. I just remember how long Vengerov was sidelined with a bad shoulder – and he is still young.

  • Jack says:

    What an awful shame. I just heard him playing the Rachmaninoff 4th with the Rotterdam Phil in Paris just last month!

  • Joel A Stein says:

    He is scheduled to play Beethoven 5 with the BSO January 2-4.

    • Karl says:

      I know. That was my chance to hear him play. I’ve never heard him play live and now it looks like I never will.

  • Bruce says:

    Yikes! Frightening at any age. Best wishes.

  • The View from America says:

    Such a fantastic pianist, which makes this news so distressing.

    But for once, can’t SD refrain from publishing a headline that seems more intended to engender dissension than convey information? I realize that the term “breaking” is appropriate for most news stories, but to tie it to a story like this — and without appending the word “news” to it — I mean, really?

  • Jack Blair. says:

    Our most sincere best wishes to one of our greatest treasures.

  • Ken says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. When I was younger I used to go to see the finest artists playing in NYC. He stood out among them. A truly extraordinary pianist/musician who I always thought deserved more recognition than he got.


    Nelson Freire terá uma recuperação completa em pouco tempo, seu talento e a força de sua alma superarão estes momentos.

  • Robert Levin says:

    This doesn’t sound good, especially at his age. Freire is one of the greats!! I was fortunate to have heard him in a magnificent recital last year at Northwestern University’s Galvin Recital Hall in Evanston, IL.

  • Jack Ewing says:

    Will he still be able to play the minute waltz in only 58 seconds? My thoughts and prayers go to his immediate family, to his cat and his several attorneys.

  • Semra Bahcivan says:

    Hope he will recover soon, with my best wishes.

  • Rgiarola says:

    Eu desejo a melhor recuperação possivel ao maestro Freire, se essa info é verdadeira. Uns dias de ferias maestro, depois de grave flagelo, não mata.