Jan 5, 1920 – June 12, 1995
Born – Brescia, Italy
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, one of the greatest Italian pianists, began his first musical studies on the violin, before switching to the piano. He studied at the Milan Conservatory where he received his soloist diploma at the age of 14. At the age of 19, he won the prestigious Genève International Competition and hence, launched his career. Presiding over this competition was the legendary Ignancy Padereweski and Alfred Cortot who hailed him as the “new Liszt”
Michelangeli was known as a perfectionist who played everything “note perfect”. His obsession with his perfectionism resulted in very little recordings of him. In addition to his perfect playing, he was also noted for his cancelations of concerts; however when he did perform it was too sold out audiences. Although he did not necessarily like the lifestyle of a concert pianist, he toured greatly and was the first western artist to play extensively throughout Asia.
His concertizing career was interrupted during WW II when he served in the Italian Air Force. He was captured by the German army but escaped and awaited the liberation of Italy at which time he recommenced his career.
He was an active teacher holding posts at several Conservatories. Two of his notable students include Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini. His own practice schedule lasted up to 10 hours a day and he advised his students to stop practicing only after they began to feel pain in their fingers.
Hear Michelangeli play: