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Maria João Pires performs in December in a renovated Belgian Arts Center

Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires will give two recitals in December at the Centro de Artes de Belgais, a cultural space created by the artist in the district of Castelo Branco and which was recently renovated and reactivated.

The information of the recitals, marked for December 14 and 15, is on the official website of the Belgian Arts Center, a rural property in Escalos de Baixo (Castelo Branco), where the Belgian Center for the Study of the Arts, founded by Maria João Pires.

Created in 1999 as an educational, pedagogical and cultural project with an impact in the region and supported by the Ministry of Education, the Belgais Center for the Study of the Arts closed in 2009, claiming at the time a “difficult economic and financial situation”.

Almost a decade later, the cultural project of Maria João Pires was renovated and revived as a Belgian Arts Center, providing musical retreats, space for performances and music workshops. There is also a valence of accommodation and production of olive oil, as read on the official page.

The administrator of the Belgian Arts Center, Vítor Dias, explained that in 2009 the project “was closed due to the busy agenda of Maria João Pires.”

“With a lot of concerts all over the world, I did not have time for so many responsibilities having to opt for temporary closure. Now the situation allows the Center to return to its full capacity,” he said, without specifying how long the centre was reactivated.

In 2010, shortly after the closing of the previous project, Maria João Pires affirmed in different interviews for the foreign press that she would go ahead with a similar social project in Brazil, where she asked for dual nationality.

During the last decade, the pianist admitted some fatigue and intention to retire from the stages, although she did some performances, mainly outside Portugal.

In addition to the two recitals in December in Belgais, which will play compositions by Mozart and Chopin for an audience of 125 people, Maria João Pires will hold the concert on February 22 at the Palau de La Musica in Barcelona.

Maria João Pires was born in Lisbon on July 23, 1944. She is the most international and reputed of Portuguese pianists, with an artistic career dating back to the late 1940s, when she first performed in public at the age of four.

Among the prizes won by the artistic talent are the first prize of the international contest Beethoven (1970), the prize of the International Council of Music, belonging to UNESCO (1970), and the Prize Pessoa (1989).

In 2010, in an interview with London’s Evening Standard, he stated that he “would like to withdraw.” “I’ve played it for 60 years, and I think it’s too much.”

In this interview with the British newspaper, Maria João Pires said she maintained “the same enthusiasm for music”, which she still enjoyed playing, although she felt a change of attitude: “I do not like to be on stage – I never liked it – but one thing is not liking it, another is not being able to deal with it.I’m not dealing with that right now. When it starts playing, it’s the same as before but then I feel a lot more tired because it’s so demanding – not physical, but psychologically. “

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