The legendary Brazilian
was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.
ROBERTO SZIDON (21 September 1941 – 21 December 2011): One of Brazil’s greatest pianists. Recordings like the complete Hungarian Rhapsodies and the Spanish Rhapsody of Liszt, the Sonatas of Scriabin, followed by the Violin & Piano Sonatas of Bartók (with Jenny Abel), which named “one of the 33 great recordings of the century” in Germany, have made him famous throughout the world.
Of Hungarian-German, descent, Roberto Szidon was born in Porto Allegre. After his first studies at the Piano, which he begun at a very early age, he became the student of Ilse Woebke, who had been a student of Conrad Ansorge, one of Liszt’s pupils. This transmission of styles brought Roberto Szidon the reputation of the leading master of the Hungarian Piano School.
He completed his studies with Ilona Kabos and Claudio Arrau. At the same time he embarked on an international career and an extensive activity as a recording artist. Since 1964 he has recorded almost 200 works for a large variety of firms like Abril Cultural, Angel, CAFMA, Concert Hall, Deutsche Grammophon, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, DDF, EMI, for the Tibor Varga Festival - Sion, for the “Ex Libris” Guide de Disque, HiFi, Kuarup Discos, Nonesuch Records, Nova America, Odeon, Radio Canada and the Süddeutsche Rundfunk.
He recorded a prize-winning LP in 1965 of Heitor Villa-Lobos's Rudepoêma. Other Villa-Lobos works in his discography were A fiandeira, Saudades dos selvas brasileiras, New York Skyline (1957 version), Carnaval dos crianças, A lenda do caboclo, Suite floral, Op. 97 (1949 revision), and 16 Cirandas and 12 Cirandinhas. He also recorded the works of other Brazilian composers such as Ernesto Nazareth, Francisco Mignone, Alberto Nepomuceno, Radamés Gnattali, Marlos Nobre and Chiquinha Gonzaga. He also recorded Sergei Rachmaninoff's 2nd Sonata, Sergei Prokofiev's 6th Sonata, Gershwin's Concerto in F, MacDowell’s 2nd Concerto, Schumann’s Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Concerto. He accompanied Thomas Quasthoff in Schumann's Dichterliebe, Liederkreis, Op. 39, and other songs.
Many of his records have been bestsellers and in 1966 he was awarded the “Citão de São Sebastião de Rio de Janeiro” prize for the best classical music recording, and in 1977 the German Record Critics’ Prize in the chamber music section.
Roberto Szidon has been in jury of competitions in Piano and Violin in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and in Germany. He occasionally gave master classes in Piano and in chamber music in Austria, Brazil and in Switzerland, and organized public and studio concerts of the works of the leading 19th and 20th century composers. Forty-one works by twenty-five Austrian, Brazilian, American, French, Greek, Guatemalan, Norwegian and German composers have been dedicated to him.
Roberto Szidon was a pianist who was fascinating by his passionate temperament and his perfect technical mastery of his instrument.