Miguel Proença is an internationally acclaimed artist, one of the most highly regarded musicians in Brazil.
Born in Quarai, Rio Grande do Sul, and residing in Rio de Janeiro, Miguel Proença has performed in all of the Brazilian states as well as in several European, Asian and American countries, having been invited to play in their most prominent concert halls, namely The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wingmore Hall (London), Salle Gaveau (Paris) and Carnegie Hall (New York).
Holding a Doctor’s Degree in Music from Hanover University of Music, Germany, Proença acted as a faculty member within the Arts Institute of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), having also served as a guest professor at the University of Music of Karlsruhe, Germany, between 1997 and 2002. His experience as a professor includes his holding master classes in Tokyo, Frankfurt, Manheinn and in Italy at the invitation of PTNA .
As a chamber musician, he played in duos with Salvatore Accardo, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Leonard Rose, Paul Tortelier, Arto Noras, Janos Starker, Raphael Oleg, and with singer Maria Lucia Godoy.
His discography includes more than 30 records with Brazilian scholars, a clear attempt to foster both research and appreciation of our musical heritage. Abroad, he recorded for labels such as Vox Classics, performing classical pieces composed by Chopin and Schubert. With M.A. Music International, he recorded Brazilian music. In 2006, together with actress and singer Bibi Ferreira, he released “Tango”, a record produced in partnership with Brazilian label Biscoito Fino (Fine Biscuit) and regarded as “The Best Foreign Record” by TIM Brazilian Music Award (Prêmio TIM de Música Brasileira).
He has been a jury with several international piano contests like the 1st Piano World Master in Paris and Nice (France), Gina Bachauer in Salt Lake City (USA), in Senigallia (Italy), in José Iturbe, Jaén (Spain), in Vianna da Motta in Lisbon (Portugal), and Tchaikowsky in Sendai (Japan).
In 2005, he launched a project named Piano Brazil (Piano Brasil), which aimed at taking Brazilian classical music over to 25 cities, from the north to the south of Brazil. Due to its great success, the tour was repeated as far as 2016, comprehending more than six editions.
Proença’s academic endeavors as a consultant with CAPES eventually led to the accomplishment of a project named INSTRUMENTISTAS-APARTES, which aimed at granting scholarships to both Brazilian artists and students within the national territory as well as abroad. He also implemented master classes in Brazilian universities counting on internationally acclaimed professors. In Nova Friburgo City, Rio de Janeiro State, in association with the Secretary of Culture, he launched “Singing Villa-Lobos” (Cantando Villa-Lobos), a project of his own, which managed to gather more than 10,000 children, who were trained by their schools to parade in town while singing some of the acclaimed composer’s pieces. Furthermore, he designed a project named “Classical UERJ” (UERJ Clássica), a series of weekly concerts performed on campus.
He also held a position as President of Funarte in 2019. However, earlier than that, he had served as Director of Sala Cecília Meireles (Cecília Meireles Hall), precisely from 1984 to 1987, resuming the position in 2018 and leaving in 2019. From 1983 to 1988, he served as Municipal Secretary of Culture in Rio de Janeiro. He served as a Director in Villa-Lobos School of Music as well as Artistic Director of SESI-RS Theater for ten years.
Among his numerous tributes and vast recognition, due to his efforts on behalf of culture, Miguel Proença has been awarded the Order of Rio Branco, in the grade of Commander, a title granted by the Brazilian Government. He was pronounced “Cultural Citizen of Kobe” by the municipality of Kobe, Japan (1991). He was granted a “Leaders and Winners Award” by the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul State as well as a “Distinction Mercosur Award” by the homonymous institution. He was declared “Honorific Citizen of Rio de Janeiro” (2015) and granted an “APCA Award” (APCA stands for Art Critiques Association of São Paulo). He was twice declared The Best Pianist of the Year (1989 and 1999). In 2010, he recorded his first personal testimony for a series named “Testimonies for Posterity” at the invitation of the “Museum of Image and Sound Foundation” (Fundação Museu da Imagem e do Som).
Miguel Proença is a Steinway artist, featuring on Steinway & Sons’ “Wall of Fame” in Hamburg, Germany, where he is in the blissful company of the greatest pianists of all time.
“A lot to admire in the interpretation of Chopin Preludes.”
“Miguel Proença's sonority has life...” Daily Telegraph – London
“Technical Domain and gorgeous sonority...” H. Schonberg - New York Times
“A poet at the piano...” Edino Krieger, Jornal do Brasil – Rio de Janeiro
“A true bath in music.” Luz Paulo Horta – O Globo – Rio de Janeiro, May 23rd, 2005