Phone: 212-860-5541 


Price: $400.00


Mounted, autographed and inscribed chocolate brown postcard photograph of the Swiss born, French pianist mounted to a 6” x 8.5” photographer’s mat, March 23, 1937.

Cortot (1877-1962) a pupil of the latter Chopin pupil Émile Decombes, Jean Bach-Rouqou and finally Louis Diémer at the Paris Conservatoire, winning a first in 1896.  He made his debut that same year with the Concerts Colonne performing the 3rd piano concerto of Beethoven. Following his debut, the pianist became the new “it” soloist in Paris and France.  Cortot at that point decided he wished to become a conductor and spent the Summer of 1898 as a repetiteur at Bayreuth where he studied Wagner’s music with his disciple Julius Kniese.  A favorite of Cosima Wagner, she gave him a presentation baton at the end of the Summer.  Cortot arrived back in Paris and began stirring up the music world there and in 1902 conducted the French premiere of “Gotterdämmerung” and “Parsifal” with Cosima’s blessing, as well as the Paris premieres of the Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”, Brahms “Deutsche Requiem” and Liszt’s “St. Elizabeth Oratorio”.  He had stirred up enough interest that he was able to organize The Association des Concerts Alfred Cortot to perform not just Wagner, but other important neglected works of German composers.  Conducting however, would become a sideline to Cortot’s career as a pianist and pedagogue. 

In 1905, Cortot along with cellist Pablo Casals and violinist Jacques Thibaud formed a trio which became the most important of it’s kind in Europe at that time.  They were prolific performers and recording  artists and their recordings still stand up today with the quality of their performance.  Two years later Cortot was appointed Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire by the then fairly new Director Gabiel Fauré. Cortot took on the pupils which formerly went to his professor Louis Diémer.  He left the Conservatoire in 1919 to found his own, the École Normale de Musique where he could control the curriculum and taught some of the most legendary pianists of the period including, Gina Bachauer, Samson François, Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Vlado Perlmutter, Ruth Slenczynska and Magda Tagliaferro among others.  Cortot also as a good teacher should promoted his best pupils.  The pianist also began to form a first rate collection of manuscripts and scores of Frederic Chopin and his other favorites including Robert Schumann.  Cortot also toured significantly including major US tours in his debut season 1918, with follow-up concerts from 1919-1920.  By the end of his career in 1958, he had performed some 1500 concerts in Europe, Russia and South America, 282 concerts in The United States and 292 in Great Britain. 

Despite all of the good that Cortot did during the early part of his career, he signed on with the Vichy Regime during World War II and became their high commissioner of arts.  He had a strange idea in his mind he was somehow preserving France.  He also performed in Germany during the War.  After the War, he was tried and denounced for his activities which led to a year of essential home confinement.  His latter years were spent teaching and performing until 1958, including with his old friend Pablo Casals at the Casals Festival.

Unlike some pianists like, Wilhelm Backhaus, Walter Gieseking and Elly Ney, Cortot through his good works has managed to remain popular amongst the piano-files, where  the three mentioned are more remembered for specific recordings rather than their entire careers.

A fine example!