Alfred Cortot – A master of romanticism


Alfred Cortot was one of the most important pianists of the 20th century. He was born in Nyon, Switzerland, in 1877 and studied at the Paris Conservatory with Emile Decombes and Louis Diémer. He was best known for his interpretations of the works of Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, which he played with exceptional sensitivity and a deep understanding of Romantic aesthetics. He was also a respected teacher, conductor and music writer, authoring numerous books and articles on music.

Cortot began his career as a concert pianist in 1897, when he debuted with Ludwig van Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto. Cortot was also in demand as a soloist, working with many famous conductors. He played in the world’s most important concert halls and was acclaimed by audiences and critics.

Cortot was not only a virtuoso pianist, but also an innovative educator. He founded the École Normale de Musique de Paris in 1919, a renowned music school where he taught many students who later became famous pianists in their own right, such as Clara Haskil, Samson François, and Dinu Lipatti. He also published several textbooks and exercises for piano, such as the “Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique” or the “Études de Chopin”. In these works he analyzed the technical and musical aspects of piano playing and gave valuable advice for the development of a personal style.

Cortot was also an important conductor and music writer. He conducted mainly works by French composers such as Debussy, Ravel or Fauré, but also by German composers such as Wagner or Beethoven. He also wrote several books and articles on music history and theory, such as the “Aspects of Chopin”. In these works he showed his profound knowledge of musical literature and his ability to explain musical phenomena.

Cortot died in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1962. He left a rich musical legacy that is still admired today. His recordings of Chopin, Schumann and Liszt are considered masterpieces of the piano art. His writings are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for musicians and music lovers. His students continue to carry his legacy to the world. Alfred Cortot was a master of Romanticism who brought music to life with his passion, intelligence and soul.

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