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Pianist Maurizio Pollini, one of his generation’s foremost interpreters of Chopin, has returned to this great well of inspiration. For recitals this spring in Chicago and New York City, he has programmed works by the composer who helped launch his career six decades ago. At 18, the Italian-born artist won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, with a performance of the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

“One could certainly say that Chopin invented modern piano playing,” Pollini has observed. “Perhaps one could also say that he invented the most beautiful sounds in the history of the piano.”

For his U.S. recital tour, which stops March 31 at Symphony Center, Pollini has programmed Chopin’s Nocturnes, Op. 62; Polonaise in F-sharp Minor, Op. 44; Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57, and Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39. The recital opens with Brahms’ Three Intermezzos, Op. 117, and Schumann’s Concert sans orchestre in F Minor, Op.14.

The essence to performing Chopin is “to bring out the greatness of the musical expression and the composer’s deep thinking,” Pollini has said. “It’s a profundity unique in the whole history of music.”