Born in Romania and buried in Switzerland, London Piano Institute reflects on the short life of one of the world’s most beloved pianists, Dinu Lipatti.
AICUBE: Who is Dinu Lipatti?
London Piano Institute: He was a pianist from Bucharest, Romania. He is known for his intentional use of the left hand and for perfect interpretation in which he specialised.
AICUBE: How did he get into music?
London Piano Institute: Lipatti was actually born into musical
family. His mother, who was no doubt his greatest inspiration, was a pianist; his father, a violin virtuoso.
AICUBE: We understand that even his baptism was a musical affair?
London Piano Institute: Yes, he is one of the only people on the books who played one of Mozart’s minuets at his baptism.
AICUBE: Did he go to school or was he self-taught?
London Piano Institute: He had a natural talent but he did complete studies at the Bucharest Conservatoire. Lipatti was also fortunate enough to study under some of the most gifted composers of his day, including Mihail Jora.
AICUBE: Can you explain why he finished second in the 1933 Vienna International Piano Competition?
London Piano Institute: It is widely believed that he should have won based on his skills. However, contest officiates believed that he was too young to earn that accolade.
AICUBE: One of the judges got so angry over the matter that he actually resigned, correct?
London Piano Institute: Yes, Alfred Cortot was so adamant about Lipatti’s talent, he pulled himself from the jury immediately.
AICUBE: His first concert posed special significance. Can you explain?
London Piano Institute: Yes, in 1935 and just after his 18th birthday, Lipatti gave his first public performance in honour of one of his mentors, Paul Dukas, who passed away just three days prior to the event.
AICUBE: How did Lipatti maintain a career in music during World War II?
London Piano Institute: Being an entertainer, he enjoyed the luxury of playing throughout Europe during that time. However, he did soon relocate from his native Romania to Switzerland.
AICUBE: What did he do there?
London Piano Institute: He continued a career in music and worked as a professor of piano at the conservatory located in Geneva.
AICUBE: He became ill shortly after moving, didn’t he?
London Piano Institute: Yes, and there were a few years where he was completely unsure of what was ailing him. However, in 1947, he was appropriately diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. As his illness progressed, his performances became fewer and fewer after the war.
AICUBE: Was he married?
London Piano Institute: Yes, he left behind a wife, Madeleine. He is buried in Chêne-Bourg next to her.
AICUBE: How popular are his recordings?
London Piano Institute: Even now, more than 60 years since his death, Dinu Lipatti remains an inspiration to budding young musicians. In fact, the Dinu Lipatti Society’s Facebook page has nearly 1,500 fans—quite an accomplishment for someone who’s been gone twice as long as he lived.
AICUBE: Before we go, can you give us a background on London Piano Institute?
London Piano Institute: We are a private educational facility that provides piano lessons to adults. We work with students of all skill levels.
AICUBE: Adults? That is very interesting. Can you describe your typical client?
London Piano Institute: Our typical student is simply an adult who wishes to learn the resonance and beauty of the piano.
AICUBE: Is it more difficult to teach adults than children?
London Piano Institute: Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to learn this and many other instruments well into adulthood. So, no, it is not more difficult to teach an adult; it’s just a matter of getting past personal insecurities so the student can find his or her own comfort level.
London Piano Institute was founded by Celine Gaurier-Joubert, a master pianist with a genuine passion for the keyboard. The school offers instructions on all types and styles of music including classical, rock, pop, jazz and blues.