Tribute To Dinu Lipatti 1917-1950

the legendary pianist


Dinu Lipatti

Dinu Lipatti

Search for light, even higher in others, and even deeper in yourself.
— Florica Musicescu (Dinu Lipatti’s mentor)

MIROIRS CA celebrates the centennial of the birth of Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti who remains a legendary personality among performing artists. Although he passed away from symptoms of Hodgkin’s disease at age thirty-three, his recordings, life work and courageous attitude serve as an inspiration and example for both musicians and non-musicians. He remarked, “Besides a knowledge of the instrument itself, the artist’s main task is to establish as exact an equilibrium as possible between two essential elements of his/her personality…in other words, intelligence and temperament…In art, one does not impose, one proposes.” {from Dinu Lipatti Remembered, Dragos Tanasescu, Musical Scope, 1971}.

Lipatti performed a variety of repertoire on disc and in concert which included Bach, Liszt, Schumann, Ravel, Grieg and unrivaled interpretations of Bach-Busoni chorale preludes, Chopin waltzes, this composer’s first piano concerto and Nocturne Op. 27, No. 2, as well as Bartok’s third piano concerto, Brahms Waltzes, Op. 39 with Nadia Boulanger and George Enescu’s Sonata No. 3, Op. 25 for violin and piano “In Romanian Folk Style,” in collaboration with the composer.

He wrote mostly for piano and commented in an interview for Radio Swiss Romande in 1950 that he wished to compose more, health permitting. Perhaps best known is Concertino in the Classical Style, Op. 3 for Piano and Small Orchestra, a brilliantly effervescent work. A review of Luiza Borac’s recording, “Piano Music of Dinu Lipatti” is included in this journal’s CD NOTES section.

Lipatti taught at the Geneva Conservatory for five years, and subsequently, his wife, the accomplished pianist Madeleine Cantacuzene, became a faculty member. Bela Siki was among his students, having won the Geneva International Music Competition, which helped launch a distinguished career as performer and teacher at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The following is Memories of Dinu Lipatti, an article Leonne Lewis wrote for Clavier about Siki’s reflections of his former teacher. It is reprinted with permission from the July/August 1992 issue of Clavier. Copyright 1992 The Instrumentalist Publishing Company.