Affiliate Concert Artist, The Dorothy Taubman Seminar
Professor and Keyboard Division Chairman
Michael Gurt is Professor and Keyboard Division Chair at Louisiana State University. He serves as head of the piano department at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and has served as Piano Chairman of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association. He has also taught at two seminars held at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan.
Professor Gurt received his early musical training from his father, Joseph Gurt, and from Dorothy Taubman. He obtained his BM degree from the University of Michigan School of Music, where his teacher was Louis Nagel. Upon graduation he received the coveted Stanley Medal. Gurt did his graduate work with Martin Canin at the Juilliard School in New York. While a student there, he performed the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto at Lincoln Center with the Juilliard Orchestra. In 1982, Mr. Gurt won First Prize in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and he has been a prizewinner in international competitions held in Sydney, Australia, and Pretoria, South Africa.
Gurt has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Capetown Symphony, the National Orchestra of China in Beijing, and the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, South Africa, among others. He has performed solo recitals in Alice Tully Hall in New York, Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, Orchestra Hall in Detroit, City Hall in Hong Kong, the Victorian Arts Center in Melbourne, Australia, Baxter Hall in Capetown, South Africa, and the Attatürk Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey. He has appeared as guest artist with the Takács String Quartet and he recently performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Mr. Gurt has served on the juries of the New Orleans International Piano Competition and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. He has been featured on a nationwide PBS broadcast, performing the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto with the Utah Symphony. Gurt has recorded on the Naxos, Centaur and Redwood labels.
“Throughout the evening there was never a blurred or awkward phrase, and Mr. Gurt displayed an almost superhuman command of the keyboard.”
New York Times
“No doubt about it, Gurt is a high pianistic achiever.”
Los Angeles Times
“Friday’s soloist [with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra], Michael Gurt, galloped from one end of the keyboard to the other with plenty of power and panache. . . shaping the phrases of the Andante with real refinement. Here is a young pianist one would greatly enjoy hearing again.”
“Michael Gurt is a young American pianist with an uncanny ability to summon up the periods of the works which he plays. . . . The Mendelssohn Serious Variations and Chopin’s B Flat Minor Sonata were played with a surefire grasp, a sense of mood and era (he hardly ever touched the pedal in the Mendelssohn while offering a grand sound), no fear to give a big percussive sound when necessary, but always with a sense of the most noble conception.”
South China Morning Post
“Michael Gurt is one of the finest young pianists heard in Cape Town and his performance of Rachmaninov’s ‘other’ concerto was nothing short of a triumph. Gurt is possessed of a seemingly infallible technique. Certainly, not even in the most torrid of Rachmaninov’s passages does he give the impression of being stretched. His tone remains crystal clear and beautifully graded, balances between melodic and accompanimental elements of the solo writing are cautiously maintained and ensemble with the orchestra remains taut. His tone ranges from a booming bass register to a brilliantly percussive upper extreme in forte dynamics. But, in quieter episodes, it has the beguiling liquidity of the Chopin exponent. Pedaling is discreet and to the point-extending, never blurring. Best of all, he knows just when to use which effect. He made of this performance a highlight of the symphonic season.”
Cape Town, South Africa