Acclaimed Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini dies at age 82

Acclaimed Italian pianist

Maurizio Pollini, a Grammy-winning Italian pianist who performed frequently at La Scala opera house in Milan, has died. He was 82.

Pollini died on Saturday, La Scala said in a statement. The announcement didn’t specify a cause of death, but Pollini had been forced to cancel a concert at the Salzburg Festival in 2022 because of heart problems.

During a six decades-long international career, Pollini’s repertoire expanded beyond the standard classics. He embraced early 20th-century masterpieces by Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern and postwar modernists such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono.

La Scala defined the pianist as “one of the great musicians of our time and a fundamental reference in the artistic life of the theater for over 50 years.”

Pollini was considered a pianist with unique intellectual power, whose unrivalled technique and interpretive drive compelled listeners to think deeply.

He was born in Milan on Jan. 5, 1942, into a family of artists. His father, Gino Pollini, was a violinist and a leading rationalist architect. His mother, Renata Melotti, sang and played the piano, as did her brother, Fausto Melotti, who was also a pioneer of abstract sculpture.

“I grew up in a house with art and artists,” Pollini said in an interview. “Old works and modern works coexisted together as part of life.”

Pollini began giving concerts before his 10th birthday, performing Chopin’s Etudes at age 14 and then winning the International Chopin Piano Competition at 18, as the youngest foreign pianist among a group of 89 contestants.

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