|While Cristina Ortiz has been
identified with Brazilian and Spanish piano music, not least because of her
spirited interpretations of works by Villa-Lobos, De Falla, and Granados,
she has achieved acclaim in such a broad range of repertory, it would be
unfair to call her a specialist. Indeed, her repertory includes all the concertos
of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, and Rachmaninov, 15 by Mozart, three
by Prokofiev, and scores of solo pieces by these and other composers out
of the Spanish and Latin spheres. She has also delved heavily into chamber
music, performing just as broad a spectrum of pieces, including music by Dvorák,
Elgar, Fauré, and Shostakovich. In this genre she has collaborated
with violinists Boris Belkin and Uto Ughi, cellist Antonio Meneses, clarinetist
Dmitri Ashkenazy, and with various chamber ensembles, such as the Chilingirian
Quartet and Prague Wind Quintet. She has appeared in recital at the most
prestigious concert venues and with the major orchestras of Berlin, Vienna,
Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, London, and Sao Paulo. In the
new century Ortiz has given concerts, usually of Mozart concertos, while
conducting from the keyboard. She has also held master classes at Juilliard
and London's Royal College of Music. Ortiz has made over 30 recordings spread
over a variety of labels, including EMI, Decca, Collins Classics, Naxos,
BIS, and others.
Cristina Ortiz was born in Bahia, Brazil, on April 17, 1950. She was an astonishing prodigy, playing the piano at two and beginning studies at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music at eight. She had advanced studies with Magda Tagliaferro at the Paris Conservatory, and went to win, among other competitions, the third Van Cliburn in 1969. She had further studies at the Curtis Institute with Rudolf Serkin, even while her career was on the ascent. Ortiz made her first recording in 1974, Lambert's "Rio Grande," for EMI, and then two more for the same label the following year, LPs of the Shostakovich concertos and of piano music by Villa-Lobos, Guarnieri, and others.
Ortiz relocated to London and continued to appear regularly in recital, and with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the next decades. In 1996 she gave the highly successful American premiere of Guarnieri's "Chôro" at Carnegie Hall, with conductor Dennis Russell Davies. In the new century Ortiz is active as ever: her 2010 touring schedule included appearances in France, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, and the U.K.
This interview was recorded in a studio in Orchestra Hall on February
21, 1989. Portions (along with recordings) were used on WNIB later
that day, and again in 1990, 1995 and 2000. This transcription
was made and posted on this website in 2011.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.