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Ricardo Castro

In 1993 Ricardo Castro received the first prize at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in England, becoming the only Latin American to win the competition since its foundation. 20 years later, he became the first Brazilian to receive an Honorary Membership from the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Ricardo Castro revealed a clear interest and ease to play the piano at the age of three, listening to his older sister’s classes with their aunt. At the age of five, having attracted the attention of Esther Cardoso, a Marguerite Long fellow, he was exceptionally accepted to join the School of Music and Performing Arts of the Federal University of Bahia.

In 1984 Ricardo Castro began his musical studies in Europe, joining the Superior Conservatory of Music in Geneva in the virtuoso class of Maria Tipo and the conducting class of Arpad Gerecz. In 1987 he graduated from the Geneva Conservatory with the Premier Prix de Virtuosité avec Distinction et Félicitations du Jury. That same year, he was the ex-aequo winner of the ARD International Competition in Munich and in 1988 he became a prize winner at the Géza Anda Competition. Shortly after he completed his piano studies in Paris with Dominique Merlet.

Ricardo was invited to play concertos with major orchestras such as the Gewandhaus of Leipzig, Tonhalle Zurich, BBC London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Mozarteum of Salzburg and many others. Among his stage partners are Sir Simon Rattle, Martha Argerich, Leif Segerstam, Kazimierz Kord, Midori and Antonio Meneses.

In 2003, he started a piano duo with Maria João Pires, performing a series of recitals throughout Europe, followed by a CD with solo and four-hands works by Schubert, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon. He recorded several other CDs for BMG-Arte Nova, all of which were acclaimed by specialized critics.

In 2007, Ricardo created NEOJIBA (State Centers for Youth and Children Orchestras of Bahia), a pioneering program in Brazil inspired by El Sistema in Venezuela that has benefited more than 10.000 children, adolescents and young people in Bahia. General director at NEOJIBA, Ricardo Castro is also Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Youth Orchestra of Bahia, the first Brazilian youth orchestra to perform in Europe. Since its foundation, the orchestra has played hundreds of concerts in Brazil and on seven international tours to the most prestigious concert halls in Europe and USA.

In September 2020 Ricardo Castro was nominated professor at the Haute École de Musique de Genève, where he will act as head of the keyboard department from September 2021. He also teaches piano at the Haute École de Musique Vaud Valais Fribourg in Switzerland and at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, in Italy, where in 2018 he created a course for “Conducting from the keyboard”.