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Martins, João Carlos

Martins, João Carlos

Martins, João Carlos, Brazilian pianist; b. São Paulo, June 25, 1940. He studied piano with José Kliass. He made his professional debut at Teresopolis in 1954, after which other concerts followed in Brazilian cities. In 1960 he made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in N.Y., evoking superlatives for his “passionate subjectivity” from the critics; later he made a specialty of performing all of Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues in 2 consecutive concerts. He also appeared as a soloist with orchs. in N.Y., Philadelphia, and Boston. But at the height of his successes, in 1969, he was knocked down during a soccer match, and hurt his arm to the point of a painful neuralgia, so that he had to stop playing piano. But in a surprising change of direction, he went into banking, managed a champion prizefighter, started a construction company, and became a multimillionaire in devalued Brazilian currency. An even more surprising development followed when, in 1981, he was appointed to the post of the Brazilian state secretary of culture; in this capacity, he exhibited an extraordinary knack for urban recovery in the direction of futuristic Americanization. In the meantime, his neurological ailment subsided, and he returned to his career as a virtuoso pianist.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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