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2012 Adjudicator

Classical music (piano)
Anton Kuerti

Anton KuertiPianist Anton Kuerti was born in Austria, grew up in the U.S., and has lived in Canada for most of his adult life. His teachers included Arthur Loesser, Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin. At the age of 11 he performed the Grieg Concerto with Arthur Fiedler, and, while still a student, he won the famous Leventritt Award.

Anton Kuerti has toured 40 countries, including Japan, Russia, and most European countries, and has performed with most major U.S. orchestras and conductors, such as the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony (Menuhin), Cleveland Orchestra (Szell), and the orchestras of Honolulu, Seattle, Montreal and San Francisco. His vast repertoire includes some 50 concertos, including one he composed himself.

His Beethoven Emperor Concerto with the Boston Symphony was hailed by the Boston Globe: “Kuerti is one of the best interpreters of Beethoven around….. His playing is strikingly individual….. a focus on line and touch, a clear and flexible rhythm, a deeply analytical and exploratory approach. … not a note had been taken for granted, with even the most prosaic passages refracted through a powerful intellectual prism….. Beethoven’s explosive juxtapositions were not merely jolts, but the sudden release of coiled tension…… the piano positively detonated the blazing coda…… showed why some warhorses deserve their status -- how, with enough intelligence and daring, even familiar music can seem new.” [3/12/08]

In Canada Kuerti has appeared in 140 communities from coast to coast, and has played with every professional orchestra, including 43 concerts with the Toronto Symphony. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received numerous honorary doctorates.

After a recent recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, critics were in rapture: "Kuerti played [the Diabelli Variations] so flawlessly that you could have made it into a CD. And, much more importantly, it was more poetically refined than you will ever hear anywhere else." - de Volkskrant; the Noord-Hollands Dagblad raved " The great imagination Kuerti brought to the works elevated the performance to an absolutely top level. What perfection!"

Kuerti has participated in leading festivals, and on many occasions has shown remarkable stamina, performing all 5 Beethoven Concertos plus the Choral Fantasy, or the last 5 Beethoven Piano Sonatas, in one extended concert. As a chamber musician, he has performed the major repertoire with such artists as Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Janos Starker, and the Cleveland, Guarneri, St. Lawrence and Tokyo Quartets.

Anton Kuerti is one of today's most recorded artists, having put on disc all the Beethoven Concertos and Sonatas, the Brahms and Schumann concertos, the Schubert Sonatas and works by many other composers. His recordings are heard almost daily on the CBC. Kuerti's newest CD features Schumann’s Fantasy Op. 17 and the Sonata in G minor, including the original finale which Clara Schumann considered “much too difficult”. Gramophone magazine called his recent CD of the Schumann Piano Concerto, "a deeply memorable contribution to this concerto's recorded history".

CD Review (London) called him 'one of the truly great pianists of this century...stunningly played...poignantly beautiful...a superb Schubert player', while the Montreal La Presse wrote "Kuerti possesses this music - the "Third" [Beethoven] and all the other concertos - as though he had written it, even to the point of visually suggesting the composer."

Anton Kuerti has recently been honored with three additional prestigious awards: The Schumann Prize of the Schumann Gesellschaft in Germany, the National Arts Prize of the Banff Centre in Canada, and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the most illustrious artistic honor conferred upon Canada's performing artists.



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