Born in Barcelona, Maria-Luisa Cantos commenced her piano studies at the age of three, and gave her first public performance when she was five. She carried out her music studies in the Conservatory of her home town and qualified as a piano teacher when she was just 16, age at which she also won the competitive exam “Extra-Ordinary Prize”. She also studied the organ simultaneously.
As a frequent attendant at master-classes given by grand maestros, she also won other prizes and distinctions which allowed her to broaden her musical training in Paris and Vienna. All this served as the foundation for a very successful piano career, giving numerous concerts as a soloist with different orchestras, as well as recitals in the most important musical centres of Europe.
Musical tours took her to different countries on the American continent from North to South within the United States, Chile and Venezuela where she was awarded a prize. The brilliant recital she gave at the Carnegie Hall in New-York brought her enthusiastic critics praising her “refined and brilliant technique”, “power and force of interpretation” and “exceptional musical expression”.
Besides her piano career, Maria Luisa Cantos has been involved in research in Spanish musical history. The outcome of these studies is the now famous International Course for Interpretation of Spanish Music, held every year, since 1979, in Baden, Switzerland, and which has become a solid point of reference in the musical world, constituting a unique cultural forum of its kind. In 1990, she created the “Hispano-Swiss Musical Foundation” whose main goal is to promote and spread Spanish music in Switzerland, with repurcussions in central Europe. She is also the Head and Artistic Director of the foundation.
In recognition of her cultural merits abroad, she was awarded the much praized “ Lazo de Dama” of the order of “Isabel la Católica “ in Spain.
In 1999, she was the soloist entrusted with performing the Klavierkonzert composed by Francisco Martín-Jaime (winner of the Queen Sofia International Prize for Composition) in its world premier, with the Spanish Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, and in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen of Spain. Since then she has collaborated closely with the composer. She performed his solos for piano “Tributes to Joaquín Turina” in Paris, and “A Tribute to Joaquín Rodrigo” in Vienna and at the Botin Foundation in Santander.
Of her many recitals are those performed at the Schönberg Centre in Vienna, with a programme entitled “Schönberg and Barcelona”, presenting composers with musical links to the Viennese and the Catalonian Schools as well as the “Piano Jacobins” at the International Festival in Toulouse, followed by solo performances with different orchestras, of works by Rachmaninoff and Katchaturian amongst others.
Recently, to celebrate the 25 years of activity of the “Hispano-Swiss Musical Foundation”, her performance as a soloist with the “Hungarian Virtuosi”, led to a significant tour of Switzerland, Slovenia and Hungary which culminated at the prestigious Academia F. Liszt in Budapest.
Her broad repertoire is attractive due to the great diversity of styles, especially for her interpretations of Brahms, Schumann and the impressionists, showing her musical quality and versatility in the combination and choice of her programmes. In addition, her repertoire also includes the complete works of important Spanish composers including de Falla, Granados, Mompou and Nin-Culmell, of which some have been recorded as well as several works of French composers. At present, she is one of the most important musical performers in the country, with international fame, and is frequently invited to participate in International Festivals.