Artur Pereira - Pianist

Biography

Artur Pereira Pianist

Winner of numerous national and international awards, Portuguese pianist Artur Pereira has received great acclaim for his compelling and original interpretations. His individual style involves a profound awareness of the composers’ language and of the period’s performing practices.

Artur performs regularly as soloist and chamber musician in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and South Africa. He is often invited as a soloist with orchestra, frequently interpreting Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff concertos. As a chamber musician, Artur also appears regularly in several ensemble combinations to great appraisal.

As a recording artist, Artur’s albums feature historically informed performances of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and piano music by Portuguese composers. These recordings are part of his seven-year project to record the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and lesser-known music by Portuguese composers.

Artur Pereira is also an author. His first book Beethoven’s Dedications: Stories behind the Tributes was released in December 2020 by Routledge. His writing and research interests focus on the music of Beethoven and the early Romantic period, following his Doctorate, awarded by the University of Manchester in 2016, on Beethoven’s dedications, under eminent Beethoven Scholar Professor Barry Cooper, and fully funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.

Born in Lamego, Portugal, Artur started his music studies at the age of seven and gave his first recital at the age of thirteen. He studied at the Oporto Conservatoire and at the School of Music and Performing Arts with Romanian pianist Constantin Sandu, during which time he was awarded multiple first prizes in piano competitions. He was invited to continue his studies in Cape Town, South Africa, under the guidance of Professor Nina Schumann and Benjamin van Eeden, completing his degree in 2006 with the top grade. During this time he was awarded the first prize winner at the ATKV Musiq competition and the Betsie Cluver prize. In 2008 Artur was admitted into the Masters degree programme at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied under Norma Fischer, with grants from the Stanley Picker Trust, the Ann Gerrard Foundation and Centro Nacional de Cultura. He continued to receive prizes in competitions, including the first prize at the Silverstone-Blank Piano Duo competition.

Artur was taught by renowned pianists, including Helena de Sá e Costa, Vladimir Viardo, Sequeira Costa, Konstantin Scherbakov, Nelson Goerner, Steven Osborne and Leslie Howard.

ALBUMS

Piano studio
Beethoven Masterclasses

Artur Pereira is an experienced piano teacher. He conducts masterclasses and private tuition worldwide, delivered in person or online. He also teaches at the University of Manchester.  

He offers consultation lessons and specialised training on piano music from the Classical and Romantic periods, with a focus on Beethoven. His students benefit from his professional expertise and guidance on interpretation, performance practices, effective practicing, and more.   

Publications

Book Description

The dedication of a piece of music is a feature generally overlooked, but it can reveal a great deal about the work, the composer, the society and the music world in which the composer lived. This book explores the musical, biographical and sociological aspects of the practice of dedicating new compositions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and makes a significant contribution towards a better understanding of the impact these tributes had on Beethoven’s life and work, and their function within the context of the musical, cultural and economic environments in which they appeared. As the first of its kind, this study demonstrates that, as a result of their different functions, published dedications and handwritten inscriptions are distinct from one another, and for that reason they have been classified in different categories. This book, therefore, challenges the idea of what exactly can be termed as a ‘dedication’, a concept which extends far beyond the dedication of musical works.

ISBN 9781138586178
Published 31 December 2020 by Routledge
Author: Artur Pereira
 
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Poemas Do Monte
Date: 21 May 2022
Time: 19H30
Venue: St. Ann's Church
Manchester, UK

PRESS RELEASES

RECORDING FOCUS

A FRESH LOOK AT BEETHOVEN

 

Not content with writing a book on Beethoven’s dedications which is destined to become a standard reference work, Portuguese pianist Artur Pereira has gone on to record the complete sonatas – and has chosen to partner them with music by a compatriot, whose daughter used to give him lessons. Jeremy Nicholas reports.

A few months ago I review a book for our sister publication Gramophone. It is called Beethoven’s Dedications – Stories behind the Tributes, a fascinating treasure-trove which tells you all you should ever wish to know on the subject. Destined to be a standard reference work, it is an extended and revised version of a doctoral thesis awarded in 2016 to the Portuguese pianist Artur Pereira.


He was born in Lamego but raised 100 kms to the west in Porto. … He continued his studies in Portugal till he was 22, then moved to South Africa. ‘In Portugal I studied with a very good Romanian pianist, Constantin Sandu, so I received some Romanian-Russian school training – I owe this teacher a lot – and then in Cape Town with the South African pianist Nina Schumann [and Benjamin van Eeden]. I learned a lot from them as well. …

Pereira then moved to the UK and Manchester where he studied for his master’s at the Royal Northern College of Music with Norma Fischer. ‘That was when I began to be more interested in the life and works of Beethoven from an academic point of view, particularly the dedications of his works. Just by chance, across the road at the University of Manchester, was professor Barry Cooper, one of the leading Beethoven experts of our time. We met and he was very interest in the subject, so I decided to pursue my studies. …


Around this time (2015) Pereira became increasingly interested in the performance practice of Beethoven’s music during his lifetime. ‘Things like trills, grace notes, or the amount of pedal used, etc. Most of my information came from people like Czerny but also from a recent study by the scholar Clive Brown, whose sources are absolutely immense. And then everything in Beethoven’s music suddenly made a lot more sense. For example, a person has to lean how not to play massively long legato lines. I always had trouble with this. But if you do the slurring as Beethoven indicated, the clarity comes through immediately and everything becomes more fluent and easier to perform’.


Having already learned almost all the sonatas by then and discovering that there are few recordings of Beethoven’s music that follow performance practice of his time, Pereira decided to record the complete cycle. ‘My account of the sonatas combines 19th-century heritage together with a fresh reading of scholarly editions, looking at the text from a new perspective but using the artistic input of amazing artists of the past’.

The recording project came about through the Portuguese consulate in Manchester, a city with a number of fine musicians from Portugal. Finding that Pereira had been performing quite widely in the UK and playing lots of music that is not well known outside Portugal, they started the Sonoris Causa label. ‘We found this absolutely brilliant sound engineer from Manchester called Mark Almond’. The results of Pereira’s first two volumes of Beethoven sonatas, I can attest, are superb: clarity of texture, grasp of structure, and performances that transcend the studio make them rival any other recent accounts of Op 31 No 2 (The Tempest), Op 110, Op 57 (Appassionata) and the early F minor WoO 47 No 2 (Pereira, rightly in my opinion, eschews the standard ‘cycle of 32 Sonatas’: Beethoven wrote 35).

But there’s more. Alongside Beethoven, Pereira has decided, boldly, to programme the music of his compatriot Luiz Costa (1879–1960). Though not a well-known name outside his native country, Costa is recognised as one of the most important Portuguese composers of the late 19th/early 20th century. Pereira has a direct connection to him.


‘He had a very talented daughter, Helena de Sá e Costa, who played all over the world, a brilliant performer, and she gave me many lessons when I was young. I learned the Tempest Sonata with her which, coincidentally, is the first sonata of my Beethoven cycle. I went to lessons in her house in downtown Porto which she inherited from her late father and had two massive Bechsteins.


‘It was not till later that I discovered how wonderful her father’s music was and started playing it. All of his manuscrits have been put online for people to use – music that has never been printed’. He shows me manuscripts of Costa’s 12 Poems of the Mountains. Pereira’s second volume of the sonatas features numbers 4-7 and was recently named one of the best new albums of 2021 by the German classical music website Orchestergraben. ‘I can’t believe no one thought to download these pieces before. I love this music. It’s stunning’.


The first two volumes of Artur Pereira’s Beethoven cycle are available from Sonoris Causa (SC002 and SC003). His recording of Luiz Costa’s complete Poemas do Monte will be released in Spring 2022.

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Jeremy Nicholas delves into a treasure trove of Beethoveniana:

‘This is a book to dip into rather than read cover to cover but one that then takes you by the hand and won’t let go.’

 

The author is a Portuguese-born pianist and teacher now based at the University of Manchester (England), which was where he undertook the doctoral thesis that forms the basis for this publication. It took a further two years of research to complete the project on a subject of such historical, social and musical importance that you wonder why no one has tackled it before.

 

Now if the prospect of a doctoral thesis conjures up visions of small print and dreary prose, let me disabuse you. It is, I suggest, one of those books to dip into rather than read from cover to cover, but one that then takes you by the hand and won’t let go. No sooner are you reading about the aristocratic Lichnowsky family, the beneficiaries of no fewer than 10 Beethoven dedications, than you are discovering the probable identity of Elise (as in Für) and the origins of the obscure and humorous canon Kühl, nicht lau, WoO 191, dedicated to the pianist Friedrich Kuhlau. (…)

 

Artur Pereira’s study is likely to remain the standard work on the subject for generations to come.

Subscribe to Gramaphone to read the full article.
ORCHESTERGRABEN 'THE 5 BEST CLASSIC ALBUMS 2021'
ARTUR PEREIRA - BEETHOVEN / COSTA VOTED No. 2

 

The surprise of the year. The Portuguese pianist Artur Pereira, still relatively unknown in German-speaking countries, has made a new recording of Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ Op. 57 in a breathtaking interpretation. Seldom before has this sonata sounded so powerful and charismatic in its dramaturgy. This wonderful album is rounded off by a cycle of piano pieces by Luiz Costa. Further Beethoven recordings are planned. Be sure to listen!

Read original review in German.
CD REVIEW
ARTUR PEREIRA PLAYS BEETHOVEN AND COSTA

 

It is hard to imagine what emotional state Beethoven must have been in when he composed his 23rd piano sonata in 1804. It was not until 1831 that it was given the nickname ‘Appassionata’. Beethoven had already been dead for 4 years by then. Revised several times by him, it did not reach its final form until 1806. The piece is a challenge for every virtuoso pianist. Imagine the darkest abysses, but these can only give a glimpse of the underlying character of this work. Rarely in the history of piano literature has a human tragedy been set to music so uncompromisingly. Beethoven’s pupil Czerny once said of the sonata that it was ‘like ocean waves on a stormy night, whist cries of distress are heard from afar.’ Similar to Czerny, everyone who gets to know the ‘Appassionata’ will likely project their own associations onto the piece.

 

When I heard this sonata for the first time many years ago, it caused tachycardia-like conditions in me, because all 3 movements are essentially extreme in form. Absolute concentration is required not only from the pianist, but also from the listener. The ‘Appassionata’ does not vie for attention, but forces it from the first note.

 

Artur Pereira, a Portuguese pianist still relatively unknown in German-speaking countries, but highly virtuoso, presents an ‘Appassionata’ on his current album, the intensity and passion of which comes to fruition from the first note of the allegro assai. Like a landslide, Pereira sweeps across the keyboard with concentrated energy. He succeeds admirably in combining the dark basic character of the sonata with his own intellectual approaches. His challenging, profound playing builds up an enormous arc of tension that lasts until the grandiose finale. A breath-taking tour de force on the concert grand.

 

Artur Pereira Portuguese

Similar to Vasco Dantas, Artur Pereira has also paired his current release with the work of a Portuguese composer. After Beethoven’s anguish, the ‘Poems from the Mountains’ (Poemas do Monte) by Luiz Costa (1879–1960) have an almost pastoral effect in terms of mood. In this beautiful piece, which consists of four movements, Costa describes the rural surroundings of northern Portugal around 1900. The first part (Across the hills) takes us on an excursion into the mountains, while we watch the lively hustle and bustle around a village fountain in the ‘Murmuring of the fountains’. In the ‘Echoes from the Valleys’ Costa describes the peaceful landscape in the valleys of the Minho region, and in the final part (Church bells towers) we listen devoutly to the ringing of the bells on a bright Sunday morning. Artur Pereira works out the lyrical context of these musical poems with attention to detail. His unmistakable feeling for tone colours makes the ‘Poems from the Mountains’ appear like a poetic picture book. I would like to hear more from Costa in the future.

 

The recordings for this CD were made in 2018 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In terms of sound, which is of the highest order, Pereira shows every extent of his technical and artistic abilities. This recording is part of a 7-year project in which it is planned the publication of all Beethoven piano sonatas and works by lesser-known Portuguese composers. It remains to be hoped that this project will succeed. We are excited.

Read original review in German.
MUSICAL Opinion (July–September 2021)
BEETHOVEN’S DEDICATIONS – STORIES BEHIND THE TRIBUTES
A new book by Artur Pereira, and two new Beethoven recordings

 

Any new book about Beethoven is to be anticipated with pleasure; the life and work of this ineffably great figure is a universal source of inspiration.  The marvel is that there might be something further to discover, something new to say, whether we approach Beethoven cloaked as musician, scholar, supplicant or enthusiast.

Dr Pereira has achieved the enviable: he has researched a book where, on almost every page, there are delightful pieces of information that most of us probably did not know.  He illuminates many facets of Beethoven’s life by the study of his copious dedications, providing thumbnail sketches and many a fact about Beethoven’s life and relationships not commonly encountered in the familiar Beethoven literature.  Of course, some of the stories behind Beethoven’s dedications are tolerably well-known; it is unlikely that anyone who has played Beethoven will not have heard of his patron Archduke Rudolph, or the cancelled dedication to Napoleon, or the perceived grudge at the failure of George IV to acknowledge the inscription of the ‘Battle Symphony’.  But who has not wished to know more about these names that feature so prominently above Beethoven’s titles?  Brentano, Breuning, Browne, Erdödy, Ertmann, Galitzin, Guicciardi, Kinsky, Lichnowsky, Lobkowitz, Radziwill, Razumovsky and Waldstein are all familiar names; indeed, the common reader is very likely to recognise them precisely because of Beethoven’s effective guarantee of their immortality!

Lest it be thought that what we have here is a miscellany of anecdotes – which would have been an easy way to deal superficially with the subject – we may happily note that this is a work of tireless and comprehensive scholarship, nevertheless presented in a manner which immediately engages the general reader.  For those anxious to know the sources of his information, Dr Pereira has provided exhaustive annotations, footnotes, bibliography and general critical apparatus, but he has also adroitly organised the whole book to be cast in agreeably digestible prose.

Beethoven’s Dedications is laid out in such a way that perusal by a casual reader, curious, say, about just one of Beethoven’s many dedicatees, can quickly find the apposite material.  However, it is very much worth reading the whole book at a sitting, and thus be rewarded with a kind of parallel biography alongside many an engrossing fragment of social history.

In short, this book is everything from an indispensable reference tool to a compelling narrative account of a favourite composer through an unusual lens, shedding enlightenment upon a splendid array of personalities: patrons, friends, fellow-musicians, hoped-for donors and more, and we are in Dr Pereira’s debt.

Parallel to his musicological studies, Artur Pereira is building a distinguished career as a concert pianist, and his understanding of Beethoven through his book is complemented by his performances of four Beethoven Sonatas, recently released on 2 CDs (available separately).  He has recorded opus 31/2, WoO 47/2 and opus 110, then opus 57.  (The second disc offers a charming bonus in the delightful Poemas do Monte, opus 3, by his fellow Portuguese countryman Luiz Costa.) 

Whilst it is clear that new recordings of Beethoven Sonatas are daring forays into a crowded field, these recordings stand up fearlessly against an army of competitors; the performances are assured, sensitive and powerful, clearly the product of an artist who knows and understands Beethoven’s language and character very well.  They are also very musical accounts underpinned by scholarship and meticulous attention to the question of performance practice, with scrupulous attention paid to articulation and ornamentation – things that some of the great lion performers have habitually allowed to escape their grasp.  But pre-eminently they are utterly compelling accounts by a true performer, who makes one listen with new ears to music of great familiarity, and who finds the divine spark already present in the child Beethoven’s early F minor sonata (published when the composer was 12) – with its striking anticipations of the Grande Sonate Pathétique.

[Artur Pereira’s book is published by Routledge; his recordings are issued on Sonoris Causa.]

Please subscribe to MUSICAL Opinion to read complete review.
The Piano Sonatas as Beethoven intended.

 

The Manchester-based pianist and author Artur Pereira has gone to the original source material to present the piano sonatas as Beethoven originally composed them. The speeds are as Beethoven intended, the dynamic markings as he wrote them. So the slow movement of the Appassionata is not presented as a slow and sentimental hymn-like offering. And as Beethoven wrote new clefs and key signatures before variations 1&2, Pereira inserts tiny pauses, almost certainly as Beethoven intended. And in Op.110, instead of the rather easy-going, almost joyful, performances by others, Pereira finds a sense of loss which Beethoven felt so keenly at this late stage in his life. Pereira will record the complete set of the 35 -- yes 35 -- sonatas. An essential addition to any Beethoven library.

Read the review published on Amazon.co.uk on Beethoven: Piano Sonatas.

How did Beethoven take revenge on a muse? Portuguese musicologist tells the story.

 

"The dedication by the composer Beethoven of the famous 'Moonlight' Sonata to an alleged muse was, after all, a sarcastic way of getting revenge for the way he felt disrespected, discovered the Portuguese musicologist and pianist Artur Pereira."

Read the article published on the Portuguese showbiz magazine website Diário de Noticias. (Article in Portuguese)

Como Beethoven se vingou de uma musa? Musicólogo português conta.

A dedicatória do compositor Beethoven da famosa "Sonata ao Luar" a uma alegada musa foi afinal uma forma sarcástica de se vingar pela forma como se sentiu desrespeitado, descobriu o musicólogo e pianista português Artur Pereira.

An important addition to Beethoven scholarship

 

Artur Pereira has achieved the seemingly impossible. He has discovered an area of Beethoven’s life that has never been explored. As he says, dedications were an important part of composers’ lives. Did you know one dedicatee gave Beethoven a horse? This is essential reading if you want to discover an aspect of Beethoven’s life - musical and personal - that has hitherto remained in the shadows. As well as being a formidable Beethoven scholar, Pereira is also a concert pianist. His knowledge of all aspects of The Master’s life is therefore rounded and complete.

Read the review published on Amazon.co.uk on Beethoven’s Dedications: Stories Behind the Tributes.

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