Kristian Bezuidenhout

keyboard player
1979-
Hailed for his expressive and communicative style, Kristian Bezuidenhout has already earned a reputation as one of today’s most exciting young keyboard players. Since his unanimously acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall – The Boston Globe described his performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto on an 1825 Graf as "extraordinary and immensely expressive" – Bezuidenhout has gone on to perform with some of the world’s leading ensembles both early music and mainstream, including the Orchestra of the 18th Century, under Frans Brüggen, Concerto Köln, The Freiburger Barockorchester, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Handel & Haydn Society. His chamber music partners include Pieter Wispelwey, Daniel Hope, Giuliano Carmignola, Petra Müllejans, Paul O’Dette and Malcolm Bilson and he regularly performs Lied recitals with, among others, Carolyn Sampson, Mark Padmore and Jan Kobow.

Born in 1979 in South Africa, Bezuidenhout began his studies in Australia at the age of ten. He has worked with teachers including Rebecca Penneys, Paul O'Dette, Malcolm Bilson, Robert Levin and Arthur Haas and completed his studies summa cum laude at the Eastman School of Music. At 21, he won the prestigious First Prize as well as the Audience Prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition (2001), a double honor, this being only the third time the former prize has been awarded in the history of the competition.

Bezuidenhout is a versatile keyboard player who performs regularly on fortepiano, harpsichord and modern piano in North America, Europe, Great Britain, Australia and Asia. Kristian has appeared in the early music festivals of Barcelona, Boston, Bruges, Venice, Utrecht and St. Petersburg, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Ireland, the Brühler Schlosskonzerte in Germany, the Menuhin Festival in Switzerland, the Michelangeli Festival, the Haydn Festival in Esterhaza, the Vermont Mozart Festival and the Poeke Fortepiano Festival in Belgium. He has served as a faculty assistant at the Eastman School of Music, where he teaches fortepiano and 18th Century performance practice. In January 2004 he was a guest on NPR's Performance Today and performed solo fortepiano recitals at Dumbarton Oaks.

Recordings to date include a disc of Mozart solo fortepiano works entitled Sturm und Drang – the American Record Guide called it the "most impressive and provocative debut recording in years"; a reading of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with Jan Kobow that was named record of the month at Musicweb International; and a disc of Bach Concertos with Daniel Hope the Chamber Orchestra of Europe that was named Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine.

Highlights of the 2006-07 season included a tour with the Orchestra of the 18th Century under Frans Brüggen in a complete performance of the late Piano Concertos by Mozart; in May 2007 Bezuidenhout stepped in for Andreas Staier at a moment’s notice in a concert with the Freiburger Barockorchester under Gottfried von der Goltz; and in November of 2006, Bezuidenhout was named the ‘Most Exciting Young Musician’ in the 2005-06 season by the Dutch Federation of Music and Drama (VSCD).

Plans for the future include concerto performances with the Freiburger Barockorchester, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Brad Lubman, and the Residentie Orkest under Christopher Hogwood; and a complete cycle of the Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Orchestra of the 18th Century (Amsterdam Concertgebouw).

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