“I am very happy to come back,” pianist Nelson Freire tells me over the phone from his home in Brazil. Long revered as a connoisseur’s pianist, Freire returns to Australia in March for concerts with the Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. This will be the fourth time Freire has toured Down Under, with his most recent appearance in 2014.

“At 71, Freire seems to be in something of a golden age,” Limelight’s then Editor Clive Paget wrote when last Freire was in Sydney, while critic Greg Keane praised his “charm, wit and spontaneity”.

Nelson FreireNelson Freire. Photo © Decca/Benjamin Ealovega

But before those performances it had been 20 years since Australian audiences had heard the pianist in anything other than recordings, Freire’s previous tour dating back to the century before.

“So I think now we are trying to catch up,” the 73-year-old...

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