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Friday, March 6, 2015

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Father and son team up

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TORONTO — For the first time ever in Toronto, famed pianist Anton Kuerti will play in concert with his acclaimed maestro son, Julian, (both seen in photo)

The historic musical event, which is presented by Mooredale Concerts and will also feature the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, will take place on Jan. 11 at the MacMillian Theatre.

“I always look forward to playing together with him,” says Julian of his father, who is widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading musicians.

“It’s even more special that we get to do this in Toronto, our home town.”

The father and son combo, along with the orchestra, will be performing works by Felix Mendelssohn, Bela Bartok and Beethoven’s Symphony 8 in F.

“The first piece… by Béla Bartók is a wonderful and short portrait of five different aspects of village life in rural Hungary,” explains Julian, who is into his second season as the assistant conductor of the renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra.

“The Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Capriccio Brillante (by Mendelssohn) both feature the piano as solo instrument, and are virtuosi and very exciting. The program ends with Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, which is perhaps his most ‘classical’ work in the symphonic medium.”

Though this is their Toronto debut as a tandem, the Kuertis made quite a splash the last time they played together.

It was in March and Anton was supposed to be a member of the audience.

“[Julian] had a set of four concerts and this was the last and only one I was free to attend,” recalls Anton.

“As I was taking a shower, two hours before concert time, the urgent phone call came in asking whether I would play.”

The scheduled pianist had suddenly taken ill and concert organizers were in a bind.

Despite the extremely short notice and the fact he had not rehearsed with the orchestra, Anton filled in to the crowd’s great surprise and pleasure.

“Father and son showed why some warhorses deserve their status – how, with enough intelligence and daring, even familiar music can seem new,” praised the Boston Globe of the impromptu joint effort.

Austrian-born Anton began making headlines as early as age 11, when he played piano alongside the Boston Pops Orchestra.

His stellar reputation as a solo pianist is international in scope and he is also quite the recording machine, including recordings of all the Beethoven concertos and sonatas, as well as Schubert and Brahms concertos.

Earlier in 2008, Anton, who is presently artistic director of Mooredale Concerts, was bestowed with the well deserved Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award as part of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

Julian, who is in his early 30s, trained as a violinist for most of his life and later made the switch to conducting.

His reputation is constantly on the rise and positive reviews are all the rage.

Mooredale Concerts will also be putting on its Music & Truffles children’s series on Jan. 11, featuring a performance of The Snow Queen.

For tickets to either of these events, please phone 416-922-3714 ext. 103 or visit


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