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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Cortot, Alfred

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Alfred Cortot (1877 - 1962)


Alfred Cortot’s mother was Swiss and his father French. After music lessons in the company of his sisters, young Alfred moved with his family to Paris where he joined the Paris Conservatoire at the age of nine. There, he studied piano with Émile Descombes (1829–1912) and, at the age of fifteen, joined the class of Louis Diémer. After winning the premier prix in 1896, Cortot made his debut the following year with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, and in piano duet recitals with Edouard Risler playing arrangements of Wagner. His enthusiasm for the music of Wagner led to his appointment as choral coach and then assistant conductor at Bayreuth, working under Felix Mottl and Hans Richter. Cortot’s experiences in Bayreuth left him eager to introduce Wagner’s music to French audiences. In 1902 he founded the Société des Festivals Lyriques and in May of the same year conducted the Paris première of Götterdämmerung and a successful Tristan and Isolde. The following year Cortot organised another society through which he gave performances of major works such as Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Liszt’s St Elisabeth, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Wagner’s Parsifal. A year later in 1904 Cortot became conductor of the Société Nationale, promoting works by contemporary French composers.

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Shostakovich – Symphony No. 14 - Petrenko



 

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