Martha Argerich (born June 5, 1941) is an Argentine concert pianist. She hates being in the limelight, but is still widely recognized as one of the greatest modern-day pianists. The first hit headlines in 1965 when, ahed 24, she won the seventh International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw with a defiantly confident reading of Chopin’s Etude in C major (Op. 10, No. 1). At the time, besides being already a master pianist, she also conveyed an aura of a nouvelle vague actress, wearing conspicuous mini-skirts and continuously smoking cigarettes.
As critic Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker: “Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brain-teasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.”