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Rudolf Firkusny; Pianist Specialized in Czech Music

July 24, 1994

Rudolf Firkusny, 82, a Czech-born pianist who championed the music of his native land during a 44-year, self-imposed exile to protest communism. Firkusny, who taught at the Juilliard School of Music, brought exposure to the works of Czech composers, including Smetana, Dvorak and Martinu. He performed with major orchestras around the world, led by some of the century's greatest conductors. In May, 1990, he ended his exile by performing in Prague to acknowledge the return of democracy. In 1991, he was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Order of T.G. Masaryk, named for the country's first president. In New York City on Tuesday of cancer.

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