Max Barros has won wide acclaim as one of South America’s foremost pianists and one of the most versatile pianists of his generation. He has been praised by the critics for his elegant rhythm and rare musical refinement (The New York Times), his unfaltering brio (Gramophone), and his superb technique and sensibility (St. Louis Dispatch).
Born in California and raised in Brazil, since 1984 italian-brazilian-american pianist Max Barros resides in New York City, where he has performed frequently at the city’s main concert halls, including Alice Tully Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Symphony Space, Kaufman Hall, and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. In 1985, Mr. Barros was presented with the “Soloist of the Year” Award by the São Paulo Music Critics Association for his performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto in D minor with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), and received the “Distinguished Performer” award at the Palm Beach International Piano Competition. He has performed with the main symphony orchestras in Brazil under conductors Eleazar de Carvalho, Roberto Tibiriçá, Diogo Pacheco, Julio Medaglia, Carlos Moreno, Ira Levin, and Cristopher Zimmerman, among others. Mr. Barros has toured South America with the Virtuosi di Praga and, as a chamber musician, has performed with the American String Quartet, Enso String Quartet, Quarteto di Venezia, Biava String Quartet, Esher String Quartet, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble.
He is well known for his stylistic and historically informed interpretations, and his extensive research into the performance practice of early keyboard instruments has allowed him to bring fresh insights to his performances on the modern piano. He founded the Barros Classical Consort, a period-instrument trio, and together with Stephanie Chase and Christine Gummere, he recorded the complete Trios of Luigi Boccherini and Stephen Storace on period instruments.
A dedicated champion of Brazilian music, Mr. Barros has premiered and recorded several works by the nation’s foremost composers, including the North American premiere of Ronaldo Miranda’s Concertino for Piano and Strings. He recorded Amaral Vieira’s Piano Quintet with the Ensemble Capriccio and has recorded for Naxos the complete Piano Concertos by Camargo Guarnieri with conductor Thomas Conlin and the Warsaw Philharmonic, which won the “Discovery Award” from the Diapason magazine in France. With the Moskow Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Ada Pelleg, he recorded Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. He has recently recorded Camargo Guarnieri’s complete Ponteios for Naxos and is in the process of recording the composer’s complete solo piano music in six volumes. The first volume of the series was chosen “CD of the Week” by the KDFC Classical Music Station in San Francisco for the week of 21 January 2013. In 2008, Mr. Barros made his debut at the Caramoor Festival performing Camargo Guarnieri’s Concertino for piano and orchestra with the St. Luke’s Orchestra under Michael Barrett.
For the past twenty seasons, Mr. Barros has been the co-artistic director of the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC), an organization that creates unique productions merging dramatic and fully staged scripts with music, and which has been hailed as one of the most innovative chamber music groups in New York. The scripts, drawn from historical material that includes letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper articles, poetry, and literature create an intricate counterpoint to the musical program.
With long runs on off-Broadway, he performed with ERC’s Jules Verne: From the Earth to the Moon and Akhmatova: The Heart is not Made of Stone (Brooklyn Academy of Music-BAM, 2015 and 2016), both of which were critic’s pick for The New York Times, where Mr. Barros was praised for his “rapturous” performance of Rachmaninoff’s music. For his performance in The Sorrows of Young Werther (Symphony Space, 2015), Opera Today remarked, “Mr. Barros… made the piano drip with beauty and elegance, with an incomparable grace in his legato.” He can be heard on ERC’s DVD, The Young Arthur Rubinstein, performing works by composers whom Rubinstein knew in Paris at the beginning of his career.
Mr. Barros studied in Brazil with Amaral Vieira, in Poland with Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, and in the United States with Antonio Guedes Barbosa, Richard Goode, Seymour Bernstein, and Malcolm Bilson (fortepiano).
Max Barros is a Steinway artist.