Pires comes out of retirement for biggest-ever live piano line-up

Pires comes out of retirement for biggest-ever live piano line-up


norman lebrecht

March 25, 2020

The Saturday, Deutsche Grammophon are putting on the biggest display of global piano talent in memory.

Among those taking part are includes Maria João Pires (officially retired), Rudolf Buchbinder, Evgeny Kissin, Víkingur Ólafsson, Jan Lisiecki, Joep Beving, Simon Ghraichy, Kit Armstrong and Daniil Trifonov.

Others are expected to join, subject to quarantine restictions.

You can watch pianists via YouTube and Facebook using hashtags #StayAtHome and #WorldPianoDay. The show will be streamed live at 3pm Berlin time on 28 March and will be available online only for a short period thereafter.


  • James says:

    I hate to nitpick, but I’m not sure it’s the biggest display of piano talent in living memory – Verbier and other places have staged some fabulous piano blockbusters over the years. I remember a 10th anniversary concert at Verbier (now available as a film, I believe) that included Kissin, Argerich, Lang Lang, Ax, Andsnes, Levine, Pletnev, Angelich and one or two others. Similarly, I attended a piano gala around the Beijing Olympics that featured 10 very distinguished pianists (and ended with a concerto for ten pianos and orchestra!). But this sounds excellent, notwithstanding!

  • sam says:

    Why do classical musicians always rush to make their content, offer their talent, for free?

    I know, it’s a beautiful humanitarian thing, blah blah blah, but isn’t 20 years of conservatory study and a life time of honing one’s skills to the summum of one’s arts worth something monetarily?

    Do classical music audiences only show up when it’s free?

    I’d love to know the traffic at the Berlin Philharmonic’s digital concert hall after it made its content free and unlimited for a month.

    We’re conditioning classical music audience to expect freebies all the time.

    “Priceless” shouldn’t mean at “no price”!

    • homework says:

      The above comment is completely stupid, IMHO.

    • MacroV says:

      I take your point, but if someone were to charge for viewing of such event, there would no doubt all sorts of criticism (including on SD) about trying to profit off a tragedy, etc. BTW, it’s not just classical listeners who may be conditioned to “free;” most people won’t pay anything for an app from the App Store.

    • Just sayin' says:

      They give what they have, in a gesture of goodwill. Not forever; it’s a one-off, available for a limited time. You might think of it as “content marketing”; somewhere, someone will hear it and be pulled into this music for life (who knows? in the long term, maybe *you* will also benefit!). Lighten up a little and open your hand.

    • psq says:

      If this is something they volunteer to do, and it is not causing anybody to die or get ill, who are we to tell them not to do it? Joshua Bell played in a subway station, confined musicians in Italy and elsewhere have sung and performed from their home balconies for their neighbours.

      • Tamino says:

        Joshua Bell played in a subway station… and nobody cared…
        Same evening he played in Carnegie Hall, people paid a lot of money and appreciated him and his art.
        You make Sam’s point in a way.

        • Maria says:

          That’s not the point and you dont know. You send put goodness, you beget goodness. You”ve assumed everyone else didn’t care. In years to come, one person’s life may have been turned round. It’s not our job to judge. Go and do something generous! The tough times forge characters, not the easy times – Andrew Cuomo in the most awful NY situation. At least in Britain we have a health service for everyone at the point of delivery but they are all giving so much of themselves.

    • Maria says:

      Many can afford to do this, and be generous for which so many will be grateful in order to lift their spirits. Not every classical musician is going from hand to mouth.
      But the ones who are, need to be supported sympathetically and a different scenario. I would say accept this generosity from these pianists in the spirit it is freely given to make a difference, and not sold.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Let’s hope it will be as impressive and entertaining as those two from recent memory:

    (Watch for a young Radu Lupu being funny at 2:40)


  • Pedro says:

    Pires cam out of retirement last season when she replaced Lupu in a concert in Berlin. Beethoven 4th with Barenboim conducting. She plays frequently in her country and in concerts at home. Last October, I have heard a superb op.111 there, preceded by a very good Pathétique, among other works. Hopefully, she will play in Madrid’s Teatro Real in October and at the Paris Philharmonie in November. She is also scheduled to play at the Martha Argerich Festival in Hamburg next June.