Ricardo Castro, pianist and conductor, was born in Brazil. From a young age, he displayed exceptional interest and talent for the piano. At the age of five, he caught the attention of professor Esther Cardoso, herself a student of Marguerite Long, and was admitted to the Music School of the Federal University of Bahia. Early on, Ricardo Castro began performing in public, and at the age of ten, he played as a soloist with an orchestra.
In 1984, he furthered his musical studies in Europe and entered the Geneva Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Maria Tipo for piano and Arpad Gerecz for orchestral conducting. His exceptional abilities were recognized through several awards won at prestigious competitions, such as the Rahn Competition in Zurich in 1985, the Pembaur Competition in Bern in 1986, the ARD International Competition in Munich in 1987, and the Geza Anda Competition in 1988. He also completed his piano studies in Paris with Dominique Merlet.
In 1993, Ricardo Castro won the first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in England, becoming the first Latin American to achieve this distinction since the competition’s inception. This victory propelled him onto the international stage and earned him considerable recognition. He has been invited to perform with renowned orchestras worldwide, including the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Tonhalle in Zurich, BBC London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, among others. He has collaborated with esteemed musicians such as Sir Simon Rattle, Martha Argerich, Leif Segerstam, Kazimierz Kord, and Midori.
In addition to his achievements as a pianist, Ricardo Castro has also distinguished himself as a conductor. In 2007, he created the NEOJIBA program in Brazil, inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema model, which aims to provide musical opportunities to underprivileged children and youth. As the general director of NEOJIBA and artistic director of the NEOJIBA Orchestra, he has conducted numerous concerts in Brazil and during international tours in Europe and the United States.
Alongside his career as a performer and conductor, Ricardo Castro is also a renowned educator. In 2020, he was appointed as a professor at the Geneva Haute École de Musique, where he leads the keyboard instruments department. He also teaches at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole in Italy, where he created an innovative course on conducting from the keyboard.
Ricardo Castro is acclaimed by both critics and audiences for his virtuosity, musicality, and passion for music. He continues to inspire and influence numerous musicians and music lovers worldwide. His critically acclaimed recordings showcase his technical mastery and captivating interpretation of major repertoire works.
With his exceptional journey and contributions to music education for young people, Ricardo Castro embodies artistic excellence and social commitment. His dedication to the promotion of classical music and access to culture for all has earned him international recognition, including being the first Brazilian to be named an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Over the years, Ricardo Castro has built a solid reputation as a talented pianist and conductor, establishing himself as one of the most accomplished representatives of contemporary classical music. His unwavering passion for music and constant desire to explore new artistic horizons continue to shape his career, allowing him to touch the hearts of listeners and leave a lasting impact in the world of music.