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Legendary French-Swiss pianist Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) is celebrated at the Cambridge Piano Weekend

Josephine Miles

Preview: Cambridge Piano Weekend celebrates Cortot

10:48, 9th August 2019

The Cambridge Piano Weekend, a newly established piano course run by Cortot specialist Michael Stembridge-Montavont, returns on 13–15 September 2019

The course intends to continue the legacy of French-Swiss pianist Alfred Cortot. Recitals and lectures will be given by Cortot experts, and participants will have the opportunity to play in masterclasses and concerts across the weekend.

Course director Michael Stembridge-Montavont studied with Jean Micault, a student of Cortot, for over nine years in Paris. He has carried out extensive research on the technique and manner of Cortot’s playing, publishing articles and running workshops in Normandy, France, and the UK.

Highlights of the Cambridge Piano Weekend 2019 include:

  • An evening concert by Frédéric Aguessy, former student of Yvonne Lefébure and winner of the Long–Thibaud–Crespin Competition, on Friday 13 September. Aguessy will play works by Schubert, Liszt and Debussy. He will also give individual lessons and public masterclasses over the weekend.
  • An afternoon recital by Ilya Kondratiev, student of Elisabeth Leonskaja, who will play works by Chopin, Schubert and Liszt on Saturday 14 September.
  • A lecture-recital by Dr Vasilis Rakitzis drawing on his recent doctoral paper – ‘Alfred Cortot and Schubert: Cortot as performer, teacher and artist’ – on Saturday 14 September.

Participants will give an informal concert on the Saturday evening and a public concert on the Sunday afternoon, performing on a Steinway model D in Anglia Ruskin University’s recital hall. The most promising student will be offered a full lunchtime recital in the 2020 Mumford Theatre Recital Series at Anglia Ruskin.

Stembridge-Montavont said: ‘The Cambridge Piano Weekend offers an important opportunity to pass on the artistic tradition of Alfred Cortot. To quote the great pianist himself, “I know of no better artistic means, nor of any more fertile one, than that which consists of the transmission to younger generations the secret of this compelling message of the inexpressible – the Art of Music.”

‘I’m thrilled that Frédéric Aguessy, who perfectly demonstrates the ‘French school’ of playing, is this year’s course tutor. Vasilis Rakitzis’ lecture-recital will include rarely heard recordings of Cortot playing Schubert, and I’m looking forward to the recital by up-and-coming Russian pianist Ilya Kondratiev. Hearing the participants play is always a real pleasure too.’


The Cambridge Piano Weekend takes place at Anglia Ruskin University on 13–15 September 2019. Full participation costs £295 and daily participation is also possible.

Visit this page for further details: cortotheritage.com/cambridge-piano-weekend

Visit this page to book spectator tickets: aru.ac.uk/arts-law-and-social-sciences/mumford-theatre/whats-on

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