Anton (Emil) Kuerti, OC (born July 21, 1938) is an Austrian-born Canadian pianist, music teacher, composer, and conductor. He has developed international recognition as a solo pianist, particularly focusing on the works of Beethoven.
Kuerti was born in Vienna, Austria. As a child he immigrated to the United States and studied piano under Edward Goldman. Kuerti performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra at age eleven. Kuerti studied music at the Longy School of Music, at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree, and at the Curtis Institute. His teachers included Arthur Loesser, Rudolf Serkin and Mieczysław Horszowski. He also studied at the age of 16 at The Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, with Henry Cowell; he later wrote an article, "Henry Cowell: Enfant Terrible of American Music", for the fall 1995 issue of Queen's Quarterly.
Kuerti has toured extensively as a solo performer, performing in 150 communities throughout Canada and with every professional Canadian orchestra and many in the USA and elsewhere. He has also recorded many albums. His recordings include all the Beethoven concertos and sonatas, the Schubert sonatas, the Brahms concertos, and works by many other composers. In 1977 he won a Juno Award for best classical recording for his album The Beethoven Sonatas, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.
Kuerti received honorary degrees from the University of Western Ontario in 1985 and Laurentian University in 2007. In 1980, he founded the Festival of the Sound, a classical music festival in Parry Sound, Ontario.
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2007 he was appointed to the special one-year Schulich Professorship Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal as visiting professor. In 2008 Kuerti received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.
Kuerti is also the artistic director Mooredale Concerts, and of the Mooredale Youth Orchestras, a small Toronto-based set of three orchestras for children and teen-agers founded by his late wife, cellist Kristine Bogyo.
In 2002, Kuerti directed The Czerny Music Festival in Edmonton, to showcase the work of Austrian composer Carl Czerny (1791-1857). The festival featured symphonies, masses, string quartets and quintets, works for piano and strings, songs and miscellaneous chamber works, composed by Czerny.
On October 17, 2013, Kuerti was overcome by an unspecified medical condition while playing a concert in Miami. He was rushed to hospital after repeatedly playing over musical passages and expressing himself incoherently near the beginning of his Beethoven programme.
His son Julian Kuerti was assistant conductor with the Boston Symphony from 2007 to 2010.
A longtime peace activist, Kuerti signed a tax resistance vow in 1966 to protest the Vietnam War and was registered as a conscientious objector. He was also the New Democratic Party candidate in Don Valley North in the 1988 federal election.
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