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Geoffrey Tozer (Piano)

Born: November 5, 1954 - Mussoorie (a Himalayan hill station), India
Died: August 20, 2009 - East Malvern (a suburb in Melbourne), Victoria, Australia

The Indian-born Australian pianist, Geoffrey Tozer, was raised by his mother, a talented pianist, in India until he reached age 4, when she relocated with him to Australia. She was his first teacher, and young Geoffrey quickly developed into a prodigy, making his debut at 8 in a televised concert (by ABC-TV) with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a performance of J.S. Bach's F minor Concerto No. 5 (BWV 1056). In addition to his mother, his teachers included Eileen Ralf and Keith Humble (in Australia), Maria Curcio (England), and Theodore Lettvin (USA). In 1968, he became the youngest ever recipient of a Churchill Fellowship.

Geoffrey Tozer gave his London debut in 1969, at 15, in an acclaimed performance at the Royal Albert Hall at the Proms of the Mozart Concerto No. 15, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Colin Davis. In 1982 the locally popular Tozer was invited to perform at the Melbourne Concert Hall's inaugural concert. Throughout the 1980's he steadily built his international reputation. Tozer unintentionally slighted Australians when, in 1997, he declared he was moving from Melbourne to Europe to get away from the provincialism of Australia. He eventually returned and has since remained a celebrated figure in his homeland. In a 2001 concert broadcast live on television from China, Tozer became the first westerner to perform the so-called Yellow River Concerto on Chinese soil. By the end of 2004 he had made his fifth tour of China. He has remained busy in the new century with a heavy concert schedule, touring Australia, Europe, Asia, the USA and elsewhere, while continuing to live in Melbourne, and making many recordings.

Geoffrey Tozer was one of those rare pianists who attract attention not only for their immense talent but for the force of their unique personalities and the often unintended controversies they create. Tozer was typically associated with repertory by neglected composers like Nikolay Medtner, Alan Rawsthorne, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Roberto Gerhard, Percy Grainger, and a spate of others, some totally obscure. But he also performs a sizable array of standards by Mozart, Franz Liszt, Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, J.S. Bach, and many more.

In 1990 Geoffrey Tozer signed a contract with British label Chandos Records. He immediately embarked upon recording the three piano concertos of Medtner, as well as other works (eventually all) by that Russian master. He has made numerous recordings, mostly for Chandos. Among his recordings is the 2005 release of Vol. 8 of the complete piano works of Medtner.

Geoffrey Tozer died from liver disease on August 20, 2009 at the East Malvern house in which he lived as a child, after being released from The Alfred hospital the previous week. He is survived by his brother, Peter.

Source: All Music Guide Website (Author: Robert Cummings); Harald-Sun (August 23, 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2007); John Wellington (August 2009)

Geoffrey Tozer: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Geoffrey Tozer (Wikipedia)
Geoffrey Tozer - Biography (AMG)

Tozer back on the road (TheAge)
Geoffrey Tozer (Woodend Winter Arts Festival)
Geoffrey Tozer (Arts in the valley)

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