Alfred Denis Cortot (26 September 1877 – 15 June 1962) was a Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor. He is one of the most renowned 20th-century classical musicians, especially valued for his poetic insight in Romantic period piano works, particularly those of Chopin and Schumann.
Born in Nyon, Vaud, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, to a French father and a Swiss mother, Cortot studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Émile Descombes (an associate and possibly a student of Frédéric Chopin), and with Louis Diémer, taking a premier prix in 1896. He made his debut at the Concerts Colonne in 1897, playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. Between 1898 and 1901 he was a choral coach and subsequently an assistant conductor at the Bayreuth Festival. In 1902 he conducted the Paris premiere of Wagner's Götterdämmerung. He formed a concert society to perform Wagner's Parsifal, Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Brahms' German Requiem, and new works by French composers.
In 1905, Cortot formed a trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals, which established itself as the leading piano trio of its era. In 1907, he was appointed Professor by Gabriel Fauré at the Conservatoire de Paris, replacing Raoul Pugno. He continued to teach at the Paris Conservatoire until 1923, where his pupils included Clara Haskil, Yvonne Lefébure, Dinu Lipatti, Vlado Perlemuter, Simone Plé-Caussade and Marguerite Monnot...
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