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Kristian Bezuidenhout, who was born in South Africa in 1979, began his studies in Australia and completed them summa cum laude at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Rebecca Penneys, Malcolm Bilson and Paul O’Dette. He first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize as well as the audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition (2001), a double honour, this being only the third time the former prize has been awarded in the history of the competition.
Kristian Bezuidenhout is a frequent guest artist with the world’s leading ensembles including The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, Concerto Koeln, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Collegium Vocale Ghent and the Handel and Haydn Society. He has performed with celebrated artists including Frans Brüggen, Pieter Wispelwey, Daniel Hope, Viktoria Mullova, and Christopher Hogwood, and he regularly gives Lied recitals with, among others, Carolyn Sampson, Mark Padmore and Jan Kobow. He now has a standing duo with the baroque violinist Petra Müllejans, artistic director of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; their first CD, a disc of Mozart Violin Sonatas, will be released on Harmonia Mundi USA in the Spring of 2009.
Bezuidenhout now divides his time between fortepiano, harpsichord and modern piano engagements and has appeared in the early music festivals of Barcelona, Boston, Bruges, St. Petersburg, Venice and Utrecht and the Saintes Festival, La Roque D’Anthéron, the Chopin Festival Warsaw, Musikfest Bremen, the Tanglewood Festival, Mostly Mozart Lincoln Center, and the Gstaad Festival. He is now a guest professor at both the Eastman School of Music and the Schola Cantorum in Basel; in 2007 he was awarded the Erwin Bodky prize.
Highlights of past seasons included a complete cycle of the late Mozart Piano Concertos and the Beethoven Piano Concertos (Amsterdam Concertgebouw) with the Orchestra of the 18th Century under Frans Bruggen; in May 2007 Bezuidenhout stepped in for Andreas Staier at a moment’s notice in a concert with the Freiburger Barockorchester; 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 concerts with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées under Philippe Herreweghe; a Mendelssohn project with the Freiburger Baroque Orchestra and Gottfried von der Goltz; a tour with Les Arts Florissants; trio concerts with Viktoria Mullova & Pieter Wispelwey; and more recordings for Harmonia Mundi.