The Gilmore

Nelson Freire has cancelled his entire North American concert tour, including this appearance, announced May 5 by the artist’s management. Due to a family emergency, Freire is remaining at his home in Brazil. There will be no replacement, and the concert will not be rescheduled.

We will be in touch with ticket holders with more information.

A pianist who has ranked at the top of The Gilmore’s “bucket list” since the very first Festival, the stars and moon have finally aligned so that we can bring the incredible artistry of Nelson Freire to Kalamazoo! “Few pianists convey the sheer joy and exhilaration of being masters of their craft more vividly and uncomplicatedly than Nelson Freire” (The Guardian).

The extraordinary Brazilian-born pianist ranks among the greatest pianists of our time. For his first Festival appearance, Freire offers a program featuring the range of composers for whom he is identified: Bach, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, and Chopin.

A pre-concert talk by Zaide Pixley, Dean of the First Year and Adjunct Associate Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, will be held from 7 to 7:45 PM in the Chenery Auditorium Reception Room preceding the concert. Free to ticket holders.

Dinner and a Show: Make a full evening of your concert experience! The Gilmore has partnered with Millennium Restaurant Group to offer a 6 p.m. dinner reservation at Martell’s preceding the performance! Reserve your table online or call the box office at (269) 359-7311 for more information.


BACH Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
SHOSTAKOVICH Three Fantastic Dances, Op. 5
RACHMANINOFF Prelude in G-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 10
Prelude in G-sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12
CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

Nelson Freire

Nelson Freire

Born in October 1944 in Boa Esperança, a small town in the interior of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Nelson Freire made his first public appearance at age five with Mozart’s Sonata in A major, K. 331. His family, impressed by their son’s precocious talent, moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he continued his studies under the guidance of two superlative teachers, Nise Obino and Lucia Branco. In 1957, after winning the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition with his performance of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto (Guiomar Novaes was on the jury), the President of Brazil presented him with a grant which allowed him to study with Bruno Seidlhofer, teacher of Friedrich Gulda, in Vienna. Seven years later, Freire won the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London, as well as first prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon.

His London début, at the age of 23, was praised by the press as a sensation, The Times calling him “The young lion of the keyboard”. The following year, Time Magazine hailed him as “One of the most exciting pianists of this or any age” after his performances with the New York Philharmonic. Since then, over the past half century, Freire has performed in more than seventy countries worldwide, working with the most prestigious orchestras and conductors including Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Gergiev, Jochum, Kempe, Maazel, Masur, Ozawa and Zinman.

Nelson Freire has been an exclusive Decca artist for over a decade. In October 2014 he celebrates his 70th birthday with the first release in a new Beethoven concerto cycle with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester (the ‘Emperor’ coupled with the Sonata Op 111), re-uniting the 2007 Gramophone Record of the Year award-winning team of the Brahms Concertos. Also released is the Chopin F minor concerto with the Gurzenich Orchestra Köln under the brilliant young French conductor Lionel Bringuier and a 2CD set called ‘Radio Days’: a special collection of concerto radio broadcasts from 1968-1979, including repertoire Freire has never recorded commercially, as well as his legendary Paris debut in Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto with Masur in 1969.

Freire remains a relatively rare visitor to the recording studio and concert platform but his artistry continues to be celebrated as much as ever: “Few pianists alive convey the sheer joy and exhilaration of being masters of their craft more vividly and uncomplicatedly than Nelson Freire. Perhaps only his old friend and regular duo partner Martha Argerich is Freire’s equal today as a player for whom dazzling technique is just a means to a musical end, never something to be flaunted for its own sake” (The Guardian, May 2014)