Rochester, NY — Late last month, Eastman piano student Sergio Monteiro left for Buenos Aires, Argentina, hoping to have a crack at placing in the second Martha Argerich International Piano Competition. Not only did the 29-year old doctoral student of Professor Nelita True walk away with the First Prize of $10,000, but he also shared the concert stage with the renowned Ms. Argerich herself. Ms. True called this opportunity “absolutely extraordinary!”
Mr. Monteiro, a native of Brazil, entered the competition with 29 other hopefuls after an initial videotaped pre-selection process. Monteiro’s pianistic stamina and versatility were tested through four rounds of competition. Two recital programs, one chamber music concert, and the final concerto round narrowed the competitors down from 30 to 15 to seven to the final three. In the concerto round, Monteiro played the Bartok Piano Concerto No.3 with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic under the direction of Brazilian conductor Ligia Amadio. “Playing the Bartok was especially significant for me” said Monteiro, “because pianist Gyorgy Sandor, [a prominent member of the competition’s international jury] first premiered that piece.”
Monteiro gave an encore performance of the Bartok at the Teatro Colon in the celebratory September 4 concert in which Ms. Argerich also performed the Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1. Both pianists performed under the direction of conductor Charles Dutoit, former music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the cash prize — and substantial bragging rights — Monteiro will play five public concerto and chamber music concerts throughout Argentina as well as recital performances in Japan as part of the 2004 Martha Argerich Festival.
Born in Argentina, Martha Argerich is considered to be one of the greatest pianists of our time. She has collaborated for more than 40 years with Dutoit in live performances and on recordings, including the Bartok Third Concerto with the Montreal Symphony.