Martha Argerich, who was to have made her hotly anticipated Australian debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra next week, has withdrawn from all three engagements. One of the greatest pianists of the last 50 years, and still playing at the age of 75, she has a reputation for cancelling.

Yuja Wang, whose career was launched when she stepped in for Argerich as a last-minute substitute in 2007, will again replace the Argentine pianist. This is Wang’s third time performing in Australia – she first gave a performance in Perth as a 10-year-old, and most recently appeared with the SSO in 2015.

In a statement to Sydney audiences, Argerich said:

“Dear Sydney public, I am terribly sorry to disappoint you and my dearest friend and lifetime musical partner Charles Dutoit [read Limelight’s recent interview with him about Argerich’s intended Australian debut] who is the father of our daughter Annie. This is a very important event, his anniversary, 40 years after his first visit to your beautiful country. I am unable to travel and play in this moment, feel very weak, exhausted and having physical pains that worry me, please excuse me! In this condition I am afraid to travel such a long way, I ask your forgiveness, to Charles Dutoit, to the orchestra and to you.”

SSO Managing Director Rory Jeffes said that while the SSO is naturally disappointed that Argerich will not be able to make it to Sydney next week, they wish her a speedy recovery on behalf of the orchestra and audiences.

“We are so sorry our audience members won’t have the chance to see Martha Argerich in Sydney in what would have been her Australian debut alongside celebrated conductor Charles Dutoit who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first visit to Sydney to conduct the SSO,” said Jeffes in a statement.

“However, I could not think of a more thrilling replacement than that of 30-year-old Yuja Wang and I extend my deepest thanks and the thanks and appreciation of our audiences to Yuja for stepping in at such short notice, performing the same work that audiences would have heard with Martha – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1.”

All concert dates, times and programme remain unchanged, with all previously issued tickets valid on the same dates for Wang’s performances.

Yuja Wang performs with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra June 29 – July 1


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