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Kentner, Louis


KENTNER, LOUIS (Lajos Philip , 1905–1987), British pianist and composer of Hungarian birth. Born in Karwin, Kentner entered the Budapest Royal Academy of Music at the age of six. He studied piano under Szekely and Leo *Weiner, and composition with Kodaly. After his concert debut in 1918, he started a tour throughout Europe. Kentner settled in England in 1935 and was naturalized in 1946. In 1956, he made his U.S. debut in New York. Kentner was notable for his pianistic elegance, bel canto phrasing, and comprehensive technical mastery. He was praised for his interpretation of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. An admired exponent of Liszt, he founded the British Liszt Society and performed his works with authority, eloquence, and color. Kentner also specialized in playing Kodaly and Bartók. He gave the first Hungarian performance of Bartók's Second Piano Concerto (Budapest, 1933), the European performance of his Third in London (1945), and the British première of the Scherzo, Op. 2 in 1962. As regards British contemporary music, he played the first performances of works by Tippett, Walton, Bliss, and others. As a chamber musician, his long partnership with his brother-in-law Yehudi *Menuhin was noteworthy. His compositions include works for piano as well as songs and orchestral and chamber music. Kentner was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1978. He is the author of Piano (2nd ed., 1991), and a tribute to him by students and admirers (Kentner: A Symposium) was published in 1987.


Grove online; V. Harrison, Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997).

[Max Loppert /

Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]

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