Anton Kuerti was a child prodigy who has gone on to become one of the finest interpreters of the piano outputs of Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. He has hardly limited himself to that trio, however, as his repertory also includes Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Czerny, Franck, and Scriabin, as well as contemporary composers, like the Canadians Oskar Morawetz and Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté. Kuerti is also a composer himself, with a substantial output of both large and small works that includes a Piano Concerto (1985). Kuerti has toured throughout Canada, the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan, and has recorded for Analekta, CBC Records, Doremi, and other labels. Also, he has taught at the University of Toronto and given master classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In addition, Kuerti has been a concert organizer and peace activist, and in 1988 ran unsuccessfully as a New Democratic Party candidate for Canadian Parliament.
Anton Kuerti was born in Vienna, Austria, on July 21, 1938. Raised in the U.S., he became a naturalized citizen in 1944. Kuerti studied piano with Edmund Goldman in Boston and at age 11 debuted with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler in Grieg's Piano Concerto.
After studies at the Longy School in Cambridge, MA (1948-1952), Kuerti studied at the Peabody Institute (1952-1953) with Ernö Balogh in piano and Henry Cowell in composition. He followed with further keyboard study at the Cleveland Institute (1953-1955) with Arthur Loesser and at the Curtis Institute (1955-1958) with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski.
Kuerti was active as a performer in his student years, appearing with the MIT Symphony Orchestra in 1951 and at the Marlboro Festival annually from 1953-1956. In 1957 Kuerti won the Philadelphia Orchestra Youth Prize and the Leventritt Award, the latter yielding concert engagements with such orchestras as the Cleveland, New York Philharmonic, and Detroit Symphony. Kuerti debuted in Toronto in 1961, replacing Myra Hess. Kuerti relocated to Canada in 1965, becoming a naturalized citizen there in 1984.
From 1968-1972 Kuerti was associate professor of piano at the University of Toronto. In 1974-1975 Kuerti recorded the 32 Beethoven sonatas to great acclaim for Philips, and in 1976 he presented them live over CBC Radio in a 19-program series.
Kuerti, who has regularly appeared at music festivals, founded his own in 1980, the Festival of Sound, held annually in Parry Sound, Ontario. Despite his busy concert schedule Kuerti remained busy composing, too, turning out such works as the 1986 Piano Man Suite; the 1989 Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano; and 1996 Concertino, for piano, violin, and flute.
In 1998 Kuerti was designated an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Canadian government. Despite his busy concert schedule in the new century Kuerti served as artistic director in 2002 of the Carl Czerny Music Festival in Edmonton. The first winner of a Juno Award for Best Classical Album (1977), Kuerti received his fifth Juno Award nomination in 2011 for his Doremi CD of Schumann's Sonata No. 2 and Phantasie, Op. 17.