"I love the piano, but I don't like being a pianist," Martha Argerich said in an interview 40 years ago. She was two years old and a five-year-old friend often teased her, saying, "You can't do that." And then she did. One day he claimed she wouldn't bake anything on the piano. She immediately walked to the instrument and played by ear, perfecting she had been practicing. The school called Martha's parents and the rest is history. But one with struggles. From that day on she had to study a lot. The strict approach at home led to a love-hate relationship with the piano. "They didn't understand," she said later. "I did terrible things not to have to play. Someone told me you'd get a fever when you put tissue paper in water and stuffed it in your shoes. So I locked myself in the bathroom and did that. When we went to a music night, I hid under the table. Daniel Barenboim was there as a child too, but he loved to perform. I hated it. We met under the table where I hid. "
However, her talent did not go unnoticed. When she turned thirteen, her parents received a diplomatic post in Vienna, enabling her to continue studying in Europe. Argerich started a solo career three years and two competitions later but some time later, she returned to the musical school desks with two famous pianists: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Friedrich Gulda. Gulda was the man who formed her. He let her discover the humor in music and taught her to listen to her own playing, although it didn't come easy. Her breakthrough came with the victory in the Chopin Competition of 1965. The 24-year-old Argerich blew everyone away with her musical instinct, her charisma and her impulsiveness. Other musicians also fell under her spell, such as the young violinist Gidon Kremer, with whom she would later collaborate. "While I was still living in Riga and Moscow, I was fascinated by Martha's record covers," he says in Jan de Kruijff's book Speech cutting musicians. "You only saw a piece of her nose and a big head of hair. More important was a performance in Moscow. That was in the 1960s. It made a deep impression on me. Her temperament and spontaneity especially struck me. "