Born in Nyon in Switzerland, Cortot studied at the Paris Conservatoire, winning the piano prize there in 1896. Between 1898 and 1901 he was an assistant conductor at Bayreuth from 1898 to 1901, and in 1902 he conducted the Paris premiere of Götterdämmerung. He later taught the piano at the Paris Conservatoire before founding the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris in 1919. His courses in musical interpretation there became almost legendary. He toured as a pianist all over the world, also appearing as guest conductor of many orchestras. He died in Lausanne.
As a pianist, Cortot was particularly noted for his interpretations of Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, and he made editions of both those composers' music. He also played chamber music, most notably in a piano trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals.\n