Ivo Pogorelich in concert

This article is from 2009.

Ivo Pogorelich

Starring role for the Belgrade pianist who has proven all his critics wrong

As the Susan Boyle saga so ably demonstrated, you don’t have to be the number one winner in competitions to gain fame. Long before her second place hit the headlines, the more notorious world of international piano competitions dealt what should have been a devastating blow to Belgrade-born pianist Ivo Pogorelich. Though he was knocked out in the third round of the 1980 Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition held in Warsaw, the controversy that went on to surround him meant that Pogorelich became more well-known than if he’d won.

In common with the now household-name pianists Angela Hewitt and Bernard D’Ascoli, Pogorelich’s formal achievement in that year’s competition was an ‘honourable mention’ at the bottom of the list of winners. Pogorelich, however, was proclaimed ‘a genius’ by renowned adjudicator Martha Argerich, who walked out on the rest of the jury in protest at the way he had been treated. The rest, as they say, is history. Pogorelich, who last performed in the UK ten years ago at London’s Royal Festival Hall and in Scotland in 1985 is, he says, ‘looking forward to the opportunity of playing at the Edinburgh Festival again and revisiting this elegant city once more.’

Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 29 Aug, 8pm, £8–£30.

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