(12-09) 04:00 PST San Francisco
Carlo Bussotti, a renowned piano virtuoso who taught at San Francisco
State University after an illustrious career as a concert pianist, died
Nov. 6 of emphysema. He was 80.
A prodigy who began playing at age 3, Mr.
Bussotti performed worldwide and on many records with the finest
musicians of his time. His performances were hailed by critics who
called Mr. Bussotti, among other things, a pianist of "superior gifts"
and "rare skill."
Mr. Bussotti was born in Florence, Italy,
began formal piano training when he was 4. He graduated from the
Conservatory Luigi Cherubini at 13 and made his professional debut one
year later, performing a Mozart concerto with the Radio Italy symphony.
Mr. Bussotti spent the next several years performing endlessly and won
He served in the Italian army during
II and following the Allied occupation of Italy often entertained
Allied troops in Sardinia. Immediately after the war, Mr. Bussotti
performed for Italy's King Umberto II.
Mr. Bussotti spent much of the 1950s and
performing, both in concert and on recordings, as a soloist and with
renowned violinists such as Joseph Szigeti, Ruggiero Ricci and Nathan
Milstein. He also performed with the Italian Chamber Orchestra, which
he co-founded. Many noted composers, including Peggy Glanville-Hicks
and Riccardo Malipiero, created works specifically for Mr. Bussotti.
His performances were universally praised
critics, who described his musical skills in superlative terms. The
Chronicle wrote in 1955: "When the pianist is as skillful a virtuoso as
Carlo Bussotti, there are no problems." The Los Angeles Examiner once
called him "a pianist of superior gifts," and a Spanish newspaper said
in 1955 that "his perfect technique (and) his profound understanding
made for a performance which can be considered perfect and complete."
Many of Mr. Bussotti's recordings,
those by the Haydn Society, remain popular with fans of classical
Mr. Bussotti moved to San Francisco in
taught at the Conservatory of Music before joining the faculty at San
Francisco State University in 1961. He taught piano performance and
chamber music until his retirement in 1993. He was known as a demanding
teacher and a perfectionist whose students both feared and adored him.
Beyond music, Mr. Bussotti enjoyed
Friends said he possessed a sharp sense of humor.
Mr. Bussotti is survived by his wife,
Bussotti of San Francisco; a daughter, Francesca Spencer of Sandpoint,
Idaho; a sister, Giuliana Bartolini Salimbeni of Rome; and three
granddaughters, Samantha, Melissa and Katrina Huff, all of Sandpoint.
A memorial concert featuring Ruggiero
the Alexander Quartet and others will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 in
Knuth Hall at San Francisco State.
Memorials may be made to the Carlo
Scholarship Fund, School of Music and Dance, San Francisco State
University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco CA 94132.
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