Pires, Maria-João, Portuguese pianist; b. Lisbon, July 23, 1944. She began piano lessons at a very early age, making her recital debut at 5 and appearing as soloist in a Mozart Concerto when she was 7. She studied piano with Campos Coelho at the Lisbon Academy of Music (1953–60), and concurrently received instruction in composition, theory, and music history from Francine Benoit; then pursued piano training with R. Schmid at the Munich Staatliche Hochschule für Musik and with Karl Engel. She appeared throughout her homeland and in Spain and Germany. After winning 1st prize in the Beethoven Competition in Brussels (1970), she gave concert tours in Europe, Africa, and Japan. In 1986 she made her North American debut as a soloist with the Montreal Sym. Orch., and in 1988 she made her first U.S. tour. In 1993 she was a soloist with Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Sym. Orch. on a major tour of Europe. Her readings of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Chopin are finely etched and poetically outlined.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire