CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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Austrian pianist, clavichord and baritone sax player Friedrich Gulda was born in Vienna on 16 May 1930 and at age seven began lessons with Felix Pazofsky, going on to study piano and theory at the Vienna Music Academy with Bruno Seidhofer and Joseph Marx. He won first prinze in the 1946 Geneva International Music Competition and began to play internationally. He became known, with Jorg Demus and Paul Badura-Skofa, as the 'Viennese troika'.
Gulda became interested in writing and playing jazz, sometimes combining jazz with classical works in his concerts, and commenting that he didn't want to 'fall into the routine of the modern concert pianist's life' nor 'ride the cheap triumphs of the Baroque bandwagon'. He established a school for students wanting to learn to improvise, and began playing the baritone sax. He refused to follow the normal clothing conventions or announce concert programmes in advance, and was dubbed the 'terrorist pianist'.
His life came to an end at his home in Weissenbach on 27 January 2000, aged sixty-nine, achieving his ambition of dying on the birthday of his favourite composer, Mozart.
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