Ivo Pogorelich was born in Belgrade in 1958. He received his first piano lessons at the age of seven, and went to Moscow at the age of twelve to study at the Central Music School and then at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1976, he began intensive studies with the renowned pianist and teacher Aliza Kezeradze, with whom he was married from 1980 until her untimely death in 1996. Ivo Pogorelich won the Casagrande Competition at Terni (Italy) in 1978 and the Montreal International Music Competition in 1980; but it was the prize he failed to win that made him world-famous. In 1980, he entered the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where his elimination in the third round sparked a fierce controversy and drew the attention of the whole musical world to the pianist.
Ever since his debut recital in New York's Carnegie Hall in 1981, Ivo Pogorelich has created a sensation with his performances in all the great concert halls throughout the world: in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, South America and Israel. He has received invitations to play with numerous major orchestras such as the Berlin and Wiener Philharmoniker Orchestras, all the London orchestras, the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris. Wherver and whenever he plays, his stunning interpretations of the music confirm the originality of his talent and intellect. The New York Times once wrote, "He played each note exactly, with such feeling, such expression. He was an entire orchestra".
Ivo Pogorelich gives much back to the community by supporting many young musicians. In 1986, he established a foundation in Croatia to raise funds for scholarships for young artists to further their studies abroad. Since 1989, the annual Ivo Pogorelich Festival has taken place in Bad Wörishofen: the aim of the festival is to support promising young musicians at the beginning of their careers by giving them the opportunity of performing together with renowned artists. In 1993, the Ivo Pogorelich Piano Competition was held for the first time in California.
In 1994, the pianist set up a foundation in Sarajevo to raise money to build a hospital and to provide medical support for the people of Sarajevo. Numerous concerts are being planned over the next several years under the auspices of UNESCO. Ivo Pogorelich also gives many charity concerts in support of, for example, the Red Cross, the rebuilding of Sarajevo, or the fight against illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. In 1988, he was named an "Ambassador of Goodwill" by UNESCO.
Ivo Pogorelich became an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist in 1982. He has made over 15 recordings with DGG, such as Mozart Piano Sonatas, Bach Suites, Liszt and Scriabin Piano Sonatas and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1. His most recent CD, released in 2002, is of the Chopin Piano Sonata No.2, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit and the Prokofiev Piano Sonata No.6.