Brigitte Engerer Photo: AFP/GETTY
The wonderful French pianist Brigitte Engerer sadly died a few days ago (on 23rd June) of cancer. She was just 59. I loved Engerer’s playing and had long been an admirer of her work. She was born in Tunis and was of Maltese descent. Having started playing the piano at the tender age of five, she entered the Paris Conservatoire in the class of Lucette Descaves. She obtained in 1968, aged 15, a first prize in piano, the first named unanimously. In 1969, she won the Concours International Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud, following which she was invited to undertake further training at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she joined the class of Stanislav Neuhaus whom she studied with for nine years.
In 1980 Brigitte’s career took a decisive turn when Herbert von Karajan invited her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. Her subsequent career was divided between giving recitals and teaching at the Paris Conservatoire. She particularly enjoyed playing chamber music especially duets and two piano works. I love the second YouTube clip I have selected below, where she partners Boris Berezovsky in a breathtaking performance of the fabulous Reminiscences de Don Juan ”Ci Daren la Mano” from Mozart’s opera by Liszt for two pianos.