Why I love Martha Argerich so much. (Part Three)

Why I love Martha Argerich so much. (Part Three)

In Lugano, Martha and I became friends. I began spending my nights talking with her for hours, until 7 in the morning almost everyday… During our conversations, she told me so many things about Gulda, Michelangeli and her youth that I felt I was absorbing a piece of history. One of these nights, she asked me if I would like to go back to Argentina. I immediately said yes… I loved Argentina, I loved the place and the people so my desire was to go back there someday. The Martha Argerich Festival 2003 was all set for September (and it was already June!) and Martha told me that she would love me to play there… Once again, I felt amazingly privileged and happy!

September came soon and I arrived in Argentina full of enthusiasm. I was scheduled to perform some solo pieces at the beautiful Auditorium de Belgrano and then I was going to travel with Martha all over Argentina with the Sinfonietta Argerich Orchestra, playing Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto.

The day after my arrival, I was completely jet-lagged and still very tired after the 13-hours long flight. It was 7 o’clock in the morning when the phone rang in my hotel room.

“Gabriele, you have to go to the Teatro Colon and rehearse in two hours with the orchestra!”

“What?” – I said – “But I’m scheduled to play Beethoven in ten days. Why now?”

“There was a big strike so we have to replace the concert of tonight. You have to play!”

So I took a shower and left the hotel very nervous and excited at the same time. I arrived at the Teatro Colon earlier than the orchestra so I started practicing. After an hour or so, the orchestra and the conductor came. The rehearsal began: I play the introduction of Beethoven Fourth and… the orchestra starts… and… suddenly I see a group of people coming on stage shouting with anger!

The other orchestra, which went on a strike, didn’t want us to play. They said that if they are on a strike, there will be no concert. I didn’t speak spanish so well back then, but I could understand that they basically waited for Martha to come to Buenos Aires to start their protest. Nothing could stop them from boycotting the concert. Martha herself felt threatened and finally the whole concert was postponed. The situation was really tense and bad.

After Buenos Aires, some 10 days later, Martha, I, and the orchestra took our flight to Jujuy, in the north of Argentina. Our little tour started.

End of Part 3