Clifford Curzon

Clifford Curzon
Clifford Curzon (1960)

Sir Clifford Michael Curzon, CBE (18 May 1907 – 1 September 1982) was an English pianist.


Early life

Clifford Michael Siegenberg was born in London to Michael and Constance Mary Siegenberg (née Young). The family soon afterwards changed their name to Curzon.[citation needed]


Curzon studied at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the prestigious Macfarren Gold Medal in 1924, at the age of 17, Curzon was the youngest pupil ever to have been accepted into the senior school. In the same year he was made one of seven sub-professors, and completed his studies in 1926.


His public debut was at a Prom in 1923, when he played a Bach triple concerto under Henry J. Wood. Between 1928 and 1930 he took further instruction from Artur Schnabel in Berlin. He then studied under Wanda Landowska and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He toured throughout Europe and the United States.

Curzon was particularly well known for his interpretations of Mozart and Schubert. Even though he left a considerable recording legacy, his distaste for recordings was well known, and he very often prohibited the release to the public of records which he felt were not up to his best standard. In his earlier years he had been noted for his championing of modern music; Lennox Berkeley's Piano Sonata is dedicated to him. Later, he tended to stay with the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Austro-German repertoire.


In 1953, Curzon was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and in 1977 he was knighted. In 1980 he received the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal.

During his premiership, Edward Heath invited musician friends, such as Clifford Curzon and the Amadeus Quartet, to perform at either Chequers or 10 Downing Street.

Family and personal life

Curzon's uncle was Albert Ketèlbey, and he described his childhood to an interviewer on the BBC programme Desert Island Discs:

Little Clifford was supposed to be in bed but he never was, he was out sitting on the landing, listening to my uncle playing through the well of the stairway of my father's old house, and so the first [pieces of] music I really heard were these immortal melodies of Ketèlbey.

In 1931 Curzon married the American harpsichordist and pianist, Lucille Wallace. The Curzons had no children of their own, but when the great soprano Maria Cebotari died (aged 39) in Vienna in 1949, they adopted her two orphaned sons.

A pacifist and member of the Peace Pledge Union, Curzon was a conscientious objector in the Second World War.


Curzon died in September 1982, aged 75. He is buried next to his wife in the churchyard of St Patrick's, Patterdale, near their house in the Lake District. On his gravestone are inscribed the opening words of Schubert's "An die Musik:" "Du holde Kunst" (O fairest art).

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clifford Curzon — (1960) Sir Clifford Curzon (* 18. Mai 1907 in London als Clifford Michael Siegenberg; † 1. September 1982 ebenda) war ein britischer Pianist. Obgleich der Absolvent der Royal Academy of Music in seiner Heimatstadt im Anschluss an sein Examen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clifford Curzon — (1960) Clifford Curzon (né le 18 mai 1907 à Londres et mort le 1er septembre 1982) est un pianiste classique de nationalité britannique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CURZON (C.) — Clifford CURZON 1907 1982 Estimé de tous ses pairs, sir Clifford Curzon n’a jamais connu la notoriété correspondant à son talent. Ceux qui l’ont approché le considéraient toutefois comme le plus grand pianiste mozartien de son époque, et tous ses …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Curzon — may refer to: As a British family name, it particularly refers to the Curzon family, and is an Anglo Norman territorial name. The Curzon family was involved in the Norman Conquest, and is named after the French town of Notre Dame de Courson in… …   Wikipedia

  • Curzon — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alexandra Naldera Curzon (1904–1995), britische Adelige Clifford Curzon (1907–1982), britischer Pianist Cynthia Blanche Curzon (1898–1933), britische Adelige und Politikerin Drury Curzon Drury Lowe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clifford — is both a given name and a surname of Old English origin that applies to a number of individuals or places. It simply means ford by a cliff .[1] Clifford was a common surname mainly in the 18th century but lost its prominence over the years.… …   Wikipedia

  • Curzon (Homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Curzon peut faire référence à : Curzon, une commune française de Vendée Lord Curzon, (1859 1925), Vice roi des Indes puis ministre britannique des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Curzon (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Curzon peut faire référence à : Curzon, une commune française de Vendée Emmanuel Parent de Curzon (1811 1896) sociologue français, Lord Curzon, (1859 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Curzon —   [kəːzn],    1) Sir (seit 1977) Clifford, britischer Pianist, * London 18. 5. 1907, ✝ ebenda 1. 9. 1982; studierte u. a. bei A. Schnabel, Wanda Landowska und Nadia Boulanger und debütierte 1923 bei einem Promenade Concert in London. Er war… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Curzon — /kerr zeuhn/, n. 1. Sir Clifford, 1907 82, British pianist. 2. George Nathaniel, 1st Marquis Curzon of Kedleston /ked l steuhn/, 1859 1925, British statesman: viceroy of India 1899 1905. * * * (as used in expressions) Curzon Line Curzon of… …   Universalium