Kevin Fitz-Gerald. Pianist, teacher, b Kelowna, BC, 16 Sep 1960; Artist's Diploma (RCM) 1989. He studied with Dorothy Clyne, then with Phyllis Schuldt, Robin Wood, and Alma Brock-Smith at the Victoria Conservatory (from which he received three diplomas 1979-81), and with Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also worked with Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Menahem Pressler and Gyorgy Sebok.
Fitz-Gerald began his performing career as a church organist at 11, and as the pianist for the Canadian School of Ballet in Kelowna at 14. He made his orchestral debut with the Calgary Philharmonic in 1979, and has also appeared with the Esprit Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the Toronto Symphony. He was guest music director in 1986 of COMUS Music Theatre and apprentice coach 1987-8 for the Canadian Opera Company.
As an accompanist and chamber musician, Fitz-Gerald has performed with Shauna Rolston, the St Lawrence String Quartet, the Bartok String Quartet, Alan Civil, Gisela Depkat, Patrick Gallois, Stephen Isserlis, Maurice Solway, Richard Stoltzman, Camilla Wicks, and others. As a chamber musician, Fitz-Gerald has appeared at music festivals in Banff; Kincardine, Ont; Roundtop, Texas; Park City, Utah; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; and La Jolla, California.
Fitz-Gerald also frequently performs as an orchestral soloist. He toured British Columbia as soloist with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra in 1983, and Ontario with the Banff Centre touring program in 1984 and with Youth and Music Canada in 1989. His performances with orchestras across Canada and the US have included concerti by Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Berg and Poulenc. He has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Montreal Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Fitz-Gerald's solo performances have taken place in major venues throughout North America, Japan, Australia, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, eg, the National Arts Centre, Roy Thomson Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Izumi Hall and Suntory Hall in Japan, the National Gallery in Jamaica, and Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia.
As Duo Pianist
Fitz-Gerald toured the Caribbean, South America, the Orient, and the Mediterranean as a solo guest artist on cruise ships in 1987-9 (as a duo pianist with his wife, Bernadene Blaha), and again in 1990. Fitz-Gerald and Blaha frequently perform two-piano and four-hand repertoire at the Newport Festival, Music Teachers' Association of California convention, and other events. Their duo performances have been described as "spectacular, sometimes frenzied" while "musical sparks shimmered" and "a tight, fiery reading" created "emotional fireworks" (Arizona Daily Star). In 2003, the Fitz-Gerald-Blaha duo performed with Piano Six.
In 1990 Fitz-Gerald began teaching chamber music and accompaniment at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In 2004, he was an associate professor of keyboard studies at the USC Thornton School of Music, living in Los Angeles.
Recordings and Public Broadcasts
Fitz-Gerald has broadcast on CBC, CJRT, BCTV, TV Ontario and other Canadian radio and TV stations. His concerts have been recorded on national television as well as the CBC, KUSC and NPR radio networks. In 1994, he made his first recording (Summit), which included the Septet of Camille Saint-Saens. He has also recorded for the TCM and Quatro Cordes labels. In 2000, he recorded (along with Blaha) four Slavonic dances by Dvorak (Op. 46, no 2, 3, 7 and 8). This recording was made at the Newport Music Festival (Benchmark Recordings).
Awards and Competitions
He won the 1982 Young Artist National Piano Competition, the 1983 du Maurier Search for the Stars, and the 1986 CBC National Radio Auditions.