Cortot, Alfred (Denis)

views updated May 18 2018

Cortot, Alfred (Denis)

Cortot, Alfred (Denis) , famous French pianist, conductor, and teacher; b. Nyon, Switzerland (of a French father and a Swiss mother), Sept. 26, 1877; d. Lausanne, June 15, 1962. He was a pupil at the Paris Cons., and studied with Decambes, Rouquou, and Diemer; he won the first prize for piano in 1896; the same year he made his debut in Paris, playing Beethoven’s C-minor Concerto at one of the Colonne concerts, and won signal success; he went to Bayreuth (1898) and studied Wagner’s works with J. Kniese, and acted as repetiteur at the festivals from 1898 to 1901. Returning to Paris, he began a most active propaganda for the works of Wagner; on May 17, 1902, he conducted the French premiere of Gotterdammerung at the Theatre du Chateau d’Eau, and in the same year established the Association des Concerts A. Cortot, which he directed for two years, educating the public to an appreciation of Wagner; in 1904 he became conductor of the orch. concerts of the Societe Nationale and of the Concerts Populaires at Lille (until 1908). In 1905, together with Jacques Thibaud (violin) and Pablo Casals (cello), he formed a trio, which soon gained a great European reputation, and which continued to perform until 1937. From 1907 to 1918 he was a prof. of piano at the Paris Cons. With A. Mangeot, he founded the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris in 1919, and subsequently served as its director. Cortot toured widely as a soloist and recitalist in Europe and the U.S. until the outbreak of World War II. During the German occupation of France, he was a highly visible artist and was associated with the cultural policies of the Vichy regime. After the liberation, he was compelled to make an accounting of his activities, but was soon allowed to resume his concert career. He subsequently gave numerous concerts until his farewell appearance at the Prades Festival in 1958. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Phil. Soc. of London in 1923 and was made a Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur of France in 1934. Among his outstanding pupils were Haskil, Solomon, Bachauer, and Lipatti. Although Cortot was technically a highly wayward pianist, he succeeded in infusing his readings of the Romantic repertory with a rare insight and poetic patina.


Principes rationnels de la technique pianistique (French and Eng., Paris, 1928; American ed., Boston, 1930); La Musique frangaise de piano (vol. I, 1930; Eng. tr., 1932; vol. II, 1932); Cours -interpretation (vol. I, Paris, 1934; Eng. tr., 1937); Aspects de Chopin (Paris, 1949; Eng. tr., 1951).


B. Gavoty, A. C (Paris, 1977); T. Manshardt, Aspects ofC. (Hexham, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Loisy, Alfred Firmin

views updated Jun 27 2018

Loisy, Alfred Firmin (1857–1940). French biblical scholar and RC Modernist. An enthusiastic exponent of the historico-critical study of the Bible, he was dismissed from the Institut Catholique in Paris in 1893. In 1902 he wrote LʾÉvangile et lʾÉglise, a defence of Catholicism against A. von Harnack. He denied that Christ founded the Church and established sacraments; and he was sceptical about the possibility of recovering the words of Jesus, and about the traditional doctrines of the Church. His Autour dʾun petit livre (1903) made his divergence from traditional Catholicism still clearer. Several of his books were put on the Index in 1903, and Loisy was excommunicated in 1908 after publishing a critique of Lamentabili. From 1909 to 1930 he was professor of the history of religions at the Collège de France.

Cortot, Alfred (Denis)

views updated May 18 2018

Cortot, Alfred (Denis) (b Nyon, Switz., 1877; d Lausanne, 1962). Swiss-born pianist and conductor, long resident in Fr. Début as pianist Paris 1896. Keen Wagnerian, went to Bayreuth and became ass. cond. to Richter and Mottl 1898–1901. Cond. first Paris perf. of Götterdämmerung 1902. Became cond. of orch. concerts of Société Nationale 1904. Cond. in Fr. of Parsifal (concert perf.), Beethoven's Mass in D, and Brahms's Requiem. From 1905 played in celebrated pf. trio with Thibaud and Casals. Prof. of pf., Paris Cons. 1907–17, succeeding Pugno. In 1919 founded École Normale de Musique, where he gave interpretation courses. One of 3 conds. of Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, founded 1928. Ed. pf. works of Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt and wrote several books. Salzburg Fest. 1933 (Saint-Saëns conc. No.4 and Franck Sym.-Var., Vienna PO cond. Krauss). Arrested 1944 on charges of collab. with Nazi occupation forces but released.

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Alfred Denis Cortot

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