Maria João Pires was born on the 23 July 1944 in Lisbon. She gave her first public performance in 1948. In Portugal she studied with Campos Coelho and Francine Benoit, later continuing her studies in Germany with Rosl Schmid and Karl Engel.
Pires recorded with the Erato label for 15 years and subsequently, for the last 24 years, with Deutsche Grammophon.
Since 1970 Maria João Pires has dedicated herself to reflecting on the influence of art on life, community and education, and in trying to develop new ways of implementing pedagogic theories within society. She has researched new forms of communication that respect the development of the individual, as opposed to the destructive and materialistic logic of globalisation. In the last ten years she has held many Workshops with students from all round the world, and this season she takes her philosophy and teaching to Japan, Switzerland and France.
In 2005 she formed an experimental theatre, dance and music group, Art Impressions, and together they have produced two major projects - "Transmissions", and "Schubertiade".