Ana Maria Trenchi Bottazzi, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was a child prodigy originally taught, beginning at age two, by her mother, the well-known Argentine pedagogue, Ana Sieiro de Trenchi. She gave her first solo recital at age four in Buenos Aires and at age 13 went to Paris to continue her studies with famed teachers Nadia Boulanger, Yves Nat, and especially Germaine Pinault, who taught her five hours a day, seven days a week, for five years. She was awarded the Premier Prix, at age 18, from the prestigious Conservatoire National de Musique in Paris. She also studied with Argentina’s most famous composer, Alberto Ginastera, and later with Roger Sessions and Martin Canin.
At age 23, she had returned from her first around-the-world concert tour, was scheduled for a New York debut, and seemed destined for a stellar performing career when tragedy struck.
A near-fatal car accident left her with major head injuries. Extensive surgery saved her life, but her physical coordination was so impaired that she could hardly walk or lift a cup, let alone play the piano, and her memory was completely unreliable. Doctors told her that she would never be able to perform again. Dr. Bottazzi returned to Argentina and, refusing to believe the doctors’ prognosis, began to slowly re-build her ability to play the piano. This would eventually take 13 years.
In 1974, she played her long-delayed New York debut in Town Hall, receiving outstanding reviews. Her autobiography documenting this arduous, courageous recovery, entitled To Live Again, which Publishers Weekly called “an inspiring story of faith and iron will,” was published in five languages by Dodd, Mead, and Co. In 1976, Dr. Bottazzi performed at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, and to prove to herself that her memory was now intact, she allowed the audience to choose the program from a list of 100 pieces in her extensive repertoire. She then played it from memory, drawing ecstatic applause from the audience and raves from the critics. Since then, she has performed and given master classes and lectures all over the world - in 34 major cities in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia - in solo recitals and with orchestra, receiving high critical and audience acclaim wherever she plays. Her U.S. performances also include 17 concerts at Carnegie Hall.
In 1992, she was honored to perform at the White House for President and Mrs. Bush, and in 1993 she gave a recital at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II.
In addition to the Premier Prix, Dr. Bottazzi has earned three master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees: a PhD in music from universities in Argentina and the U.S. She was one of the three, out of 150 candidates, accepted at The Juilliard School for a second doctorate, becoming the first Latin American person to achieve that distinction from this prestigious institution. She has received many awards, among them Outstanding Woman of the Year, given by the All Nations Women’s League in 1982, the United Nations’ Outstanding People From Central And South America award in 1984, the Outstanding Hispanic Women Achievers Award, presented to her in 1993 by New York Governor Mario Cuomo, the Presidential Who’s Who Distinguished Member Award Among Business and Professional Achievers in 2011, and the Strathmore Who’s Who Worldwide Award for her Perseverance, Commitment and Extraordinary Accomplishments in her Profession, in 2011.
Dr. Bottazzi has been associated with the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and with New York University. She and her husband, Dr. Bruno Bottazzi, established the Bottazzi School of Music (formerly the Germaine Pinault School of Music) on Long Island in 1968, one of New York’s finest private music schools, and she has been its director for the past 44 years.
Among her numerous recordings are two of her favorite encore pieces, Encores, Volume I (1990) and Encores, Volume II (1996).
Dr. Bottazzi is in great demand as a judge for international and national piano competitions. In 1992, she established the International Piano Tape Competition, a competition judged strictly from audio and videotaped performances in which the winners received cash prizes and shared a concert at Weill Recital Hall. Applications had been received from 68 different countries. The sixth and last competition took place in 2003.
Dr. Bottazzi has always had a passion for teaching pianists to play with great artistry, in the tradition of Horowitz and Rubinstein. To fulfill that passion, she has gone beyond her school teaching and her coaching professional pianists to focus on producing Teaching DVDs. These DVDs, in which she expounds on and performs pieces from the classical piano repertoire, are available for purchase on her website, Bottazzi Hands (formerly called Practice With The Masters, which she established and launched with Robert Wichlan in 2005). There is also a four-part DVD course in advanced piano technique. Dr. Bottazzi has made over 600 DVDs. This very successful and unique enterprise has been selling DVDs to pianists all over the world including the United States, Argentina, Europe, Canada, China and Hong Kong. They are a treasured legacy of everything she has been privileged to learn and to perform.