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Biography
Michael Houstoun was born in Timaru, New Zealand in 1952. He became interested in the piano when he was a small child and began lessons at the age of five, under the tutelage, first of Sister Mary Eulalie in Timaru, and then of the great Maurice Till in Christchurch and Dunedin. Michael moved through the examination grades and by the age of eighteen had won every major competition in New Zealand.

In 1973 he entered the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition where he placed third. Other international competition successes came in 1975 at the Leeds Competition (fourth prize) and in 1982 at the Tchaikowsky Competition (sixth prize).Houstoun lived away from New Zealand from 1974 until 1981 and in this time studied with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (1974-5) and with Brigitte (‘Gigi’) Wild in London (1978-9). He performed in the USA, UK, Germany and Holland.

In 1981 Houstoun followed his heart back to New Zealand where he has continued to live and perform ever since, appearing also in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. He plays from a large repertoire which stretches from J.S. Bach to the present day, including forty concertos and chamber music. A strong advocate of New Zealand music, works from Douglas Lilburn to John Psathas are regularly featured in Houstoun's programmes. During the 1990s he concentrated on the music of Beethoven, playing the complete sonatas in five cycles around New Zealand – Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Napier. He played the concerto cycle in NZ and Australia.

Houstoun won the Turnovsky Prize in 1982, and in 1999 received an honorary doctorate in literature from Massey University. He was the subject of the documentary Piano Man in 2005, and was made a Laureate of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand two years later.

Michael frequently adjudicates music competitions in New Zealand, and was a juror at the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in Salt Lake City.

He is Patron of the Nelson School of Music, the Regent on Broadway theatre in Palmerston North, the Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild of New Zealand, the New Zealand Music Examinations Board and the Kerikeri National Piano Competition.
This biography was most recently edited by...
trustrecords - 29 Mar 2011
trustrecords - 29 Mar 2011
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