* Rudolf Firkusny, world famous Czech-born American pianist, died on 19 July l994 at his country home in Staatsburg, New York. He was 82. Mr. Firkusny was born on February 11, 1912, in Napajedla, Moravia.
For 10 years, from the age of 5, he studied music with Leos Janacek. He went on to study piano with Vilem Kurz and composition with Josef Suk, Dvorak's son-in-law,at the Prague Academy of Music. He then traveled abroad and studied piano in France,Germany and Italy. Thanks to his friendship with Janacek, Mr. Firkusny was introduced to President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk who often invited him to his residences and actually sponsored Mr. Firkusny's studies both in Czechoslovakia and abroad. Mr. Firkusny's musical career had a rocket-like start. At the age of 8, he gave his first recital in Prague; at 10 he played Mozart's Coronation Concerto with the Prague Philharmonic;a year later he performed successfully in Vienna; in the second half of the 20s and in the30s, he gave concerts in many European cities. He made his American debut in 1938, at Town Hall in New York. Mr. Firkusny was always deeply involved in interpreting works of contemporary Czech composers .
Mr. Firkusny left Czechoslovakia after the Nazi occupation of thecountry in 1939 and via Paris he went to the United States. He settled in New York in 1940.He came back to Czechoslovakia in 1946 to perform in three concerts at the first PragueSpring Music Festival.
With the communist takeover in 1948, he gave up plans to return to his homeland and became an American citizen.