Anton Kuerti

Anton (Emil) Kuerti, OC (born July 21, 1938, in Vienna, Austria) is an Austrian-born Canadian[1] pianist, music teacher, composer, and conductor.


Since his performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra at age 11, he has developed international recognition as a solo pianist, particularly focusing on the works of Beethoven. Kuerti studied music at the Longy School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music and 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 of whom he has written; see "Henry Cowell: Enfant Terrible of American Music," Queen's Quarterly 102/3 (Fall 1995) 627-632.

Moving to Canada in 1965, he later joined the music faculty at the University of Toronto.[2] One of his notable pupils at the university was pianist Jane Coop.

Even with international recognition as a solo performer, Kuerti has also been generous in sharing his talents within Canada. He has performed in 150 communities throughout Canada and with every professional orchestra. He has received numerous honorary doctorates. In 1980, he founded the Festival of the Sound, a classical music festival in Parry Sound, Ontario.[3]

Kuerti is one of today’s most recorded artists. His recordings include all the Beethoven concertos and sonatas, the Schubert sonatas, the Brahms concertos, and works by many other composers. 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.[4]

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.[5]

In 2002, Kuerti directed The Czerny Music Festival in Edmonton, to draw attention to 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.[6]

On Thursday, 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.[7]

His son Julian Kuerti was assistant conductor with the Boston Symphony from 2007 to 2010.

Political views

A longtime peace activist, Kuerti was also the New Democratic Party candidate in Don Valley North in the 1988 federal election. He signed a tax resistance vow in 1966 to protest the Vietnam War[8] and was registered as a conscientious objector.

Kuerti condemned Israel's invasion of Gaza in January 2009 saying, "The unbelievable war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza ... it makes me ashamed to be a Jew. The servile way in which Canada is supporting the U.S. position—basically it's all Hamas's fault because of missiles that they throw over in desperation—I think this reluctance of Canada to use its influence makes me ashamed to be Canadian."[9]


In 2016, he was made a member of the Order of Ontario.[10]


  1. Colgrass, Ulla (1988). For the Love of Music. Toronto New York: Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 0-19-540665-6.
  2. CBC Music. "CBC Music". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  3. Festival of the Sound The Canadian Encyclopedia
  4. "GOVERNOR GENERAL'S PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS" (PDF). News release. Rideau Hall. 2008-03-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  7. "Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti hospitalized in Miami". 18 October 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  8. "Time Has Come, The .... We Will Refuse to Pay Our Federal Income Taxes Voluntarily.". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  9. Canoe inc. "Ottawa urged to demand ceasefire". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  10. "New Appointees to the Order of Ontario". January 13, 2016.

External links

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