Connection between Martha Argerich and Oita Celebration Martha Argerich's 80th birthday
Oita has been a place with a breath of Western culture since the era of Otomo Sorin, a feudal lord in the sixteenth century. It has a history that local people learned and performed Western music for the first time in Japan. After 460 years, the magnificent feature of history has led to the world-best musician, that is, Martha Argerich.
It was early spring in 1994 when Martha Argerich visited Oita for the first time with Ito Kyoko. With this as a starting point, she took office of Honorary Music Director of B-Con Plaza in Beppu upon the request of then-mayor Nakamura Taro.
From 1995 to 1997, pre-concert-series for the Music Festival was held. In the Beppu Argerich Concert ’95, Martha Argerich gave her first solo recital in ten years, which music fans around the world had waited for. The solo concert drew much attention throughout the world.
In 1996, she was decorated with the Order des Arts et des Lettres (officer) by the Government of France. In 1997, Argerich was appointed as a member of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In December the same year, she became an honorary foreign citizen of Oita Prefecture.
Since 1996 Argerich has assumed the post of General Director of Beppu Argerich Music Festival, and held MUSIC FESTIVAL Argerich’s Meeting Point(R) in Beppu, the first music festival bearing her name since 1998, playing with artists from the world, including those from Asia. She is also much interested in giving advice to young musicians and held her own Master Class at the Music Festival. Her innovative approach to music making continues to impact on music in Japan and the world.
From September 1999 the Martha Argerich International Piano Competition was held in Buenos Aires.
In 2001 Argerich was awarded the 2nd “Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli International Prize” from Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli International Piano Festival of Brescia Bergamo. From November 2001 the “Martha Argerich Festival, Buenos Aires” was held under her general direction as a sister festival to the Beppu Argerich Music Festival, Argerich serving as the bridge.
The Progetto Martha Argerich was held at the Lugano Festival, Switzerland with her as general director every year from June 2002, following the style of the Beppu Music Festival.
In 2005, Argerich received the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association for her achievements as musician and the Beppu Argerich Music Festival and the Lugano Festival. In the same year she was also awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette from the Government of Japan, in commendation for her activities as musician in Japan, achievements through the Beppu Argerich Music Festival and contribution to the cultivation of young musician.
In March 2007, Argerich became the president of Argerich Arts Foundation.
In May 2015, “Shiiki presents Argerich’s Haus,” a one-and-only facility bearing her name presented by Mr. Shiiki Masakazu, honorary director of Argerich Arts Foundation, was built in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture.
In 2016 Argerich was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Government of Japan. The decoration was awarded for the achievements of her music activities for forty-six years in Japan since her first visit, and for contributions to the development of music culture and promotion of friendship and goodwill in Japan through activities of the Argerich Arts Foundation. In the same year she also received the Kennedy Center Honors that praises achievements made in the cultural and art field in the US.
In October 2018, Argerich received an Italian Republic decoration “Commendator.”
Her CDs have been released from numerous labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, RCA, Sony, Philips, and Teldec, and received the Grammy Awards, Le Monde de la Musique CHOC Award, Grammophon Awards the Artist of the Year, and German Record Critics’ Annual Award, to name a few.