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Kristian Bezuidenhout

Kristian Bezuidenhout is generally ranked among the leading period-instrument keyboard players of his generation and is perhaps best known for his fortepiano interpretations of music by Mozart with the Harmonia Mundi label. He recorded the entire solo keyboard output of that composer, garnering high praise from across the globe. Bezuidenhout was born in South Africa in 1979 and grew up in King William's Town (now Qonce). He began his studies at age ten in Australia, where his family had moved. He had advanced keyboard studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where his teachers included Malcolm Bilson, Rebecca Penneys, and Paul O'Dette; he also studied harpsichord with Arthur Haas. In 2001, Bezuidenhout captured first prize at the Bruges Fortepiano Competition. That same year, he made his first recording, a disc of Mozart works on the Fleur de Son label entitled Sturm und Drang. He steadily built a successful career and, for the 2005-2006 season, was named the Most Exciting Young Musician by the Dutch Federation of Music and Drama. Bezuidenhout's repertoire takes in works by Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and other Romantic-era composers on the modern piano. As a harpsichordist, he has delved into an array of works by J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, and many other Baroque composers. Bezuidenhout performs regularly with some of the leading early music ensembles, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, and the Freiburger Barockorchester. In 2017, Bezuidenhout was named the artistic director of the Freiburger Barockorchester and the principal guest conductor of The English Concert. In the chamber realm, he has partnered with such artists as violinists Viktoria Mullova and Petra Müllejans. With Müllejans, Bezuidenhout made an acclaimed 2009 disc of three Mozart violin sonatas on Harmonia Mundi. Bezuidenhout had a notable year in 2007: he collaborated with tenor Jan Kobow on an acclaimed Atma Classique recording, Schwanengesang, a disc of songs by Schubert and Mendelssohn, and he was given the Erwin Bodky Prize by the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Society for Early Music. Bezuidenhout's complete survey of Mozart's keyboard works on Harmonia Mundi has earned several awards, including a Diapason d'Or de L'année, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and Caecilia Prize. In 2020, he issued the Harmonia Mundi album Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 5 with Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester. Besides Harmonia Mundi, Bezuidenhout has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Atma Classique, and other major labels. He remained active during the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing 11 albums between 2020 and 2023; his 2023 releases included a new entry in an ongoing series of Mozart piano concertos with the Freiburger Barockorchester, an album of C.P.E. Bach keyboard-and-violin sonatas with violinist Rachel Podger, and a recording of Mozart violin concertos on which he conducted the Freiburger Barockorchester and played an unusual keyboard accompaniment. By that time, his recording catalog comprised some 35 items. Bezuidenhout has taught at the Eastman School of Music and the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland.
© Robert Cummings & James Manheim /TiVo


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