Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires has been playing Mozart concertos to appreciative audiences since the early 50′s when she wasn’t even 10 years old yet. So, needless to say, she is an experienced musician.
But she experienced something new when she sat down for an open-to-the-public dress rehearsal with the Amsterdam orchestra at The Royal Concertgebouw in the late 90′s. She had prepared — as any professional would — but as the conductor brought the first notes from the orchestra, she realized she had practiced the wrong piece. It was a Mozart concerto, but not the one she expected.
After a moment of panic and a desperate conversation with the conductor as the orchestra continued the song, she entrusted herself to her almost subconscious musical memory and began to play…