Idil Biret started her extraordinary life in music as a child prodigy in Ankara, Turkey at three; a law was passed by the Turkish Parliament to send her abroad for her education when she was seven and she played Mozart's concerto for two pianos with Wilhelm Kempff in Paris to an audience of 2400 people when she was eleven. In the 1950s she won the admiration of some of the greatest musicians of the time like Wilhelm Kempff, Wilhelm Backhaus, Arthur Rubinstein, Emil Gilels and Alfred Cortot. After completing her studies at the Paris Conservatoire under the tutelage of the legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger she went on to study privately with Cortot and Kempff. She then made a spectacular entry to the concert scene of the 1960s where some of the greatest pianists of all time were performing. In 1960 she made a sixteen concert tour of the Soviet Union upon the invitation of Emil Gilels perfoming in Moscow, Leningrad and all major ciries. In 1963 she made her US debut performing Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in six concerts in Boston and New York under the baton of Eric Leinsdorf. Earlier the same year she had played the same work at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Monteux.
Idil Biret's early successes and her phenomenal ability to learn new repertory and ease of performing on stage, while admired by many also attracted the negative attention of those beginning to control the music industry and making careers of other artists. So, particularly from the 1970s on she had an uphill struggle to overcome the barriers put in front of her in performing and recording. Alfred Brendel once said that "her colleagues were afraid of Biret because of the ease with which she is capable of making music". These barriers - mostly put there to protect others from her competition - were swept away with the proposal made by the founder of Naxos Records Klaus Heymann to Idil to record for them in 1989. Idil went on to make over 40 CDs for Naxos which reached the four corners of the world selling over two million copies and making her a household name with music lovers.
All this was influential in determining the emblem of the IBA label. On a Christmas card Nadia Boulanger sent to Idil in 1959 there was the picture of an Angel from an etching by Albrecht Dürer with the following handwritten note: "To my little Idil at Christmas 1959. May the Angel protect her on the beautiful and dangerous path she has engaged herself. With all my heart." N.B.
The path of a pianist's career Idil Biret has engaged herself on has proved to be dangerous while immensely beautiful. She was also indeed protected providentially (by an Angel or otherwise) to be able to survive over fifty years on the concert stages of the world and in the recording studios where many new "star" names come and go every decade. Therefore, it was decided to select the Dürer etching of the Angel as the emblem of IBA.