Biography of Alfred Denis Cortot (1877-1962)

Pianist, bandleader and Swiss Professor, born on September 26, 1877 in Nyon (Switzerland) and died on June 15, 1962 in Lausanne. Cortot, considered one of the best pianists of the 20th century especially for his repertoire of the romantic composers, acquired international fame as a teacher. His repertoire was wide and prepared around 80 editions of music by Schumann, Liszt and Chopin, among others, full of annotations to solve technical problems.

He studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris, institution where he was later Professor of piano. In 1905 he formed a famous trio together to the French violinist Jacques Thibaud and the Spanish cellist Pau Casals. As champion of the works of Richard Wagner, was director Assistant in the festival of Bayreuth in 1898 and in 1902 he conducted the premiere of the opera, the twilight of the gods in Paris.

In 1907, at the age of 30, Cortot agreed to the Paris Conservatory as Professor, and in 1919 helped found the so-called Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. By then, Cortot had already erected on the most famous teacher of the world, and among his students were some of the best pianists of the early and mid-20th century.

As a pianist, he toured Europe, Russia and America, and made more than 150 recordings during the decades of the 1920s and 1930s. It was a very elegant musician, although intuitive and unpredictable. He was always plotting new musical ideas inspired, who was able to communicate directly to his listeners. However, and due to his multiple activities as a teacher, interpreter and writer, had little time to practice, so it earned a reputation for careless pianist. However, its audience forgave errors and slip by his obvious musical genius.

During the second world war, occupied the post of High Commissioner for fine arts in the Vichy Government. He also appeared in Germany, so the French Government suspended him public musical activity during a season. After the war, Cortot decreased their musical activities. He offered a concert farewell in 1958 and a last lecture in 1961. He retired to Lausanne. Throughout his life, he met one of the best private collections of autographs of musicians. He published several works on piano technique and a historical essay on French piano music.