Top pianist mourned

TRIBUTES are flowing from across the globe following the death of acclaimed pianist Geoffrey Tozer.The gifted musician passed away at his Melbourne home last Friday aged 54, following a lengthy battle with liver disease.He has played to millions worldwide, but his last public performance was in Bendigo two months ago.Mr Tozer played at The Capital as part of the centre’s Soul Food 2009 program.Cousin Paul Northam said Mr Tozer would be greatly missed.“This was a man of extraordinary talent and one of Australia’s finest ever musicians.“His legacy will be extraordinary,” he said.When in Bendigo, Mr Tozer held a privileged master class at Girton Grammar.Senior piano teacher Betty Higgs said the world had lost one of the greatest talents.“His knowledge was so incredible,” she said.“I myself learnt so much . . . he was such a wonderfully kind person.”Mr Tozer was born in India to English parents before he moved to Australia at the age of four with his mother Veronica and brother.“It’s an extraordinary story,” Mr Northam said.As an eight-year-old, Mr Tozer played Bach’s Concerto in F Minor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a concert broadcast on the ABC.In 1969 he became the youngest recipient in the world of a Churchill Fellowship, travelling to England where he became the youngest semi-finalist ever in the Leeds Piano Competition.Later that year he made his international debut at the Royal Albert Hall, playing Mozart’s Concerto No. 15 with the BBC Symphony under Sir Colin Davis.He went on to tour extensively across the world, compiling 36 CDs.“A musician of his calibre with the performance and recording history is unparalleled for a pianist in Australia,” Mr Northam said.“He’s considered as one of the greatest and most recorded Australian pianists.“His talent was evident - it was part of his being.”Mr Tozer is survived by his elder brother, Peter.

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