Martha Argerich: I cancelled a concert to see how it felt

Martha Argerich: I cancelled a concert to see how it felt


norman lebrecht

December 29, 2019

Some intimate glimpses of the elusive pianist in this newly uploaded documentary by Georges Gachot.

The confession about the cancellation comes at 0:32.



  • Allen says:

    The real headline should have been that she cut herself on purpose :-O

  • Gary says:

    She must’ve liked the way it felt.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    She gets way too much attention.

    • Andy says:

      Have you heard her live? If so you’d know why she gets so much attention!

      • Michael says:

        Andy, why is it so vital to hear her live? Recording technology in the 21st century is excellent. Perhaps you think it is a badge of honour you wear because you’ve heard her in concert? Personally, I find sycophants pathetic and nauseating. All concert pianist are obsessives. What they excell in, they loss out in terms of life experience. A life spent endlessly obsessing at a keyboard for up to 8 hours a day, is not clever. It has much to attract pity. So just before we hero worship, perhaps a little perspective and reality checking is needed?

        • Andy says:

          What an odd response. A long rant criticising me, and concert pianists, making assumptions about what I think and do, just because I posted a short sentence suggesting that she was worth hearing.

        • Argerich fan says:

          you seem to have lost out on your basic grammar and spelling lessons, despite not practicing the piano for many hours a day. “loss out”???
          People who live in glass houses…maybe you can finish the phrase.

        • Diane B. says:

          The ironie is that she is well known to be an elusive piano practicer…for other pianists you are right. But you would be surprise how about life and human condition can be learn through the metaphor of our obsessive instrument’s practice.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    If you travel somewhere at great expense, stay in an hotel and then on entering the concert hall discover that the person you were expecting to see has cancelled, apparently on a whim it is REALLY irritating.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      I’m still sore about Caballe’s cancelled Norma at Covent Garden in 1972: we’d booked train tickets from Glasgow to London, overnight accommodation…and then it appeared there had been some sort of disagreement over which edition was to be used…

  • Dale says:

    The discussion of the cancellation is around 32:00, btw, not 00:32

  • Artist says:

    As is often common with brilliant creative artists, Ms. Argerich is clearly has serious mental problems. I feel bad for anyone that bought tickets to that concert.

    • Bruce says:

      I just assume that about any successful artist. After all, normal people don’t become famous performers.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        I am sure it varies between performers. Some are more “normal” than others. Personally, the sheer grind of playing a different venue each day/week that solo instrumentalists have to do would cause most people severe problems.

  • Karl says:

    I’m glad that she didn’t cancel on the 3 times I saw her. All 3 were with Dutoit conducting. I bet she would not cancel with his as conductor.

  • julian woods says:

    Nice insight into a wonderful musician.

  • Nonbarihunk says:

    Video has gone.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Carlos Kleiber was known in Japan as “The Cancellation Devil”.

  • Robert Levin says:

    I wish I had never seen the video which has now been deleted. To cancel a concert just for the fun of it and then cut herself on purpose for an excuse is not only childish and selfish, it is sick. Frankly, I lost all respect for her a few years ago when I learned of how she abused and abandoned her children. Argerich is undeniably a great pianist, but she clearly is a very self-absorbed and immature human being.

    • V. Lind says:

      I agree. I don’t care how great a pianist she is — I can’t stand that woman. And I know plenty of musicians of very high calibre who are not half as nutsy, selfish or even capricious.

  • Mr A N Matthews says:

    Do remember that she was a pupil of Michelangeli

  • Dave T says:

    I cancelled my interest in Martha Argerich to see how it felt.
    It felt pretty good.

  • Larry moyer says:

    I am not surprised at anything she does..this women is a pure genius..thus we should expect erratic behavior from her from time to a pianistic genius she is wired differently than normal people…however when you listen to her master that steinway in concert everything else seems quite trivial..

  • Luis says:

    She is a genius. Disagreeing with her private life is pointless to judge her as an artist . And yes, she certainly plays more concerts than she cancels. She has even battled cancer. A concert artist with her schedule can’t anticipate how she would feel three years from now when booking a concert.
    She is a human. How many call in “sick “ for no real reason to work ?
    Some of the comments come really from very bad blood.