Maria João Pires was born in Lisbon in 1944, but she currently lives in San Salvador, Brazil. She made her first public performance at the age of seven with Mozart’s Piano Concertos in Oporto, Portugal. At the age of nine she received Portugal’s highest award for young musicians just one year later. From 1953 until 1960 she studied at the Lisbon Conservatory with Professor Campos Coelho and took courses in composition, theory, and history of music with Francine Benoit. She continued her studies in Germany, first at the Munich Music Academy with Rosl Schmid, then in Hanover with Karl Engel.
Maria João Pires has appeared all over the globe with all the major orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
In recent years she has been heard at all the major international festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Schubertiade, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Montpellier, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Salzburg Easter Festival and BBC Proms.
Maria João Pires signed an exclusive contract with Deutche Grammophon in 1990 and have since then made an impressive list of recordings. The same year, Pires started her extensive collaboration with violinist Augustin Dumay, which lead both to joint concerttours to Japan, Europe and the Far East as well as many recordings together. Other musical partners have been Jian Wang, Ricardo Castro and Pavel Gomziakov among others.
Pires has made several tours throughout Europe, South America and Japan, both recital and concert tours. She has made appearences with conductors as Mackerras, Krivine, Haitink, Pinnock, Fischer and Gardiner.