Maria João Pires
© FELIX BROEDE /
Maria João Pires, born in 1944 in Lisbon, played in public for the first time in 1948 and went on to study with Campos Coelho and Francine Benoît, and later with Rosl Schmid and Karl Engel.
In addition to her concerts, she recorded for Editions Erato for fifteen years and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon for twenty years.
Ms. Pires devotes herself to the consideration of art’s influence on life, the community and education, seeking to discover new ways to implement these teaching methods in society, through new forms of transmission that respect the development of the individual and of cultures.
She created the Centre for the Study of the Arts in Belgais in 1999, and promoted this philosophy in Salamanca and Bahia in Brazil.
In 2012, she joined the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and developed the Equinox project, devoted to the creation and development of choirs of children from underprivileged environments, and the Partitura Project, to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations.
Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk at Shechen Monastery in Nepal.
He received a Ph.D. in Cellular Genetics at the Institut Pasteur in France under Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob.
He has lived in the Himalayas since 1972, studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, two respected Tibetan spiritual masters. Since 1989, he served as French interpreter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
He is the author of The Monk and the Philosopher (with his father, the French thinker Jean-Francois Revel), The Quantum and the Lotus (with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan), Happiness, A guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill and Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World. He has translated several books from Tibetan, including The Life of Shabkar and The Heart of Compassion. As a photographer, he has published several albums, including The Spirit of Tibet, Buddhist Himalayas, and Motionless Journey.
He donates all proceeds from his books and much of his time to 140 humanitarian projects in Tibet, Nepal and India, through his charitable association Karuna-Shechen.
When I met Maria
" I had the pleasure to meet Maria João Pires during the Journées Émergences in Brussels, an annual event that brings together thinkers, scientists, artists, social activists and important speakers. We struck an ever-growing friendship."
"... During this event, Maria João played a piece she had especially selected for the occasion. Each time she played, I would introduce her music with a brief invitation to listen in a more contemplative, open and attentive way. Whilst reminiscing about the event, the idea came to us to create a concert where we would alternate Bach's Preludes and Fugues with progressive guided meditations, ranging from attentive presence to unconditional love. Then we presented two concerts at Brussels’ BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts on the occasion of the Mind & Life Dialogues with the Dalai-Lama, scientists and leading thinkers on the theme “Power and Altruism”. One thing leading to another, we did three more concerts at a venue with outstanding acoustics in Orléans and at Arle’s Roman Theatre. Maria João proposed to include additional works and the Montreal concert (the 6th), just like the Arles concerts, also included Schubert’s Impromptus. I had the opportunity to visit Maria João in Belgais, Portugal, at the wonderful estate where she welcomes young musicians who wish to learn and be inspired by her profound and inspiring music vision." MATTHIEU RICARD