History Of The Piano

Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.

1876, Falla
1877, Kimball Organ

1877, Cortot

Portrait of Alfred Cortot.
Portrait of Alfred Cortot. 1

Alfred Cortot (1877 – 1962): Swiss Born French Classical Pianist, Conductor, Pedagogue – Romantic Period

  • Studied piano at the Paris Conservatoire with Émile Descombes (1829 – 1912) and Louis Diémer (1843 – 1919).
  • Appointed choral coach and then assistant conductor for the Bayreuth Festival.
  • In 1902, founded Société de Festivals Lyriques.
  • Taught at the Paris Conservatoire.
  • Founded and served as director of the Ecole Normale de Musique. Influenced by Chopin’s teaching style, Cortot “developed the groundbreaking methods which enabled them to be passed on to future generations.” [ 2 ]
  • His book Rational Principals of Pianoforte Technique (1928) “divided systematic exercises into five categories: 1) equality, independence and mobility of the fingers; 2) scales-arpeggios; 3) double notes and polyphonic playing; 4) the technique of extensions; 5) wrist technique and execution of chords. The immediate goal of those warm-up exercises is to loosen the playing mechanism, though the pianist can apply those ideas directly into playing the main repertoire.” [ 3 ]
  • Some of his pupils: Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, and Marguerite Monnet.

Page Sources

Library of Congress.  "Portrait of Alfred Cortot."  Photograph.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., in the George Grantham Bain Collection, Digital ID ggbain.27618LOC.Gov.  Library of Congress, n.d.  Web.  28 Oct. 2015.  No Known Copyright Restrictions.
Probert, Simon.  "Alfred Cortot: The Ideal Teacher."  Piano Lessons.  Piano Lessons, 2006 – 2015.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
Wu, Li-Fang.  "The Alfred Cortot Study Edition of Chopin’s Etudes & How the Alexander Technique can Facilitate Progress Towards Performance Through His Suggested Exercises."  LSU.  LSU, Dec. 2010.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
Additional References:
  • "Alfred Cortot."  Naxos.  Naxos Digital Services Ltd., n.d.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
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