Eugen Indjic - The passing of great pianist and true artist, 29th February 2024

Eugen Indjic (1947-2024)

I was so shocked to hear of his death shortly after waking this morning.

A gentle and civilized cosmopolitan man, warm, humorous, engaging, generous, a refined musical artist and magnificent pianist who had a profound understanding of Chopin.

I was fortunate to have heard him in moving recitals and as a teacher in empathetic Masterclasses in Poland at Duszniki Zdrój and Warsaw.

And he was only 76 …..

During his career he was successful in three piano competitions:

◾ 8th International Piano Competition Fryderyk Chopin (1970) - IV Prize

◾ Leeds International Piano Competition (1972) - 3rd prize

◾ International Master Piano Competition Arthur Rubinstein (1974) - Second Prize

He came from a different world of musical sensibility to this one and we shall not see his like again. A rare spirit, musical voice and a cultivated character of man.

As a small tribute, all I can offer is a review I wrote years ago of a recital he gave at the historic spa town of Duszniki Zdrój in Poland, the oldest piano festival in the world. 

Chopin once gave a charity recital there which has never been forgotten. It seems fitting in a mysterious, almost magical way, that Indijc should die so close to the birthday of his beloved composer.

In this small tribute to genius, I have not mentioned the popularity of this pianist in Poland or elements of his fascinating biography, studying piano and music at the highest level with Arthur Rubinstein, Clifford Curzon and Nadia Boulanger. You can read in more detail here:

There was a Polish National Radio 2 (Dwojka) programme this afternoon with rare recordings of Eugen Indjic entitled Chopin osobisty (Personal Chopin) at 16.00 CET on Sunday March 3rd. 

It was conducted by the talented and musically deeply informed presenter Róża Światczyńska (in charming Polish). 

If you missed the programme it is now available as a podcast together with her other marvellous 'Personal Chopin' programmes.,eugen-indjic-wspomnienie-wybitnego-pianisty

This was a wonderful panorama of Eugen Indjic's Chopin interpretations. His deep emotional expressiveness and soul was clear from the first moments. Heartbreaking nostalgia suffuses his mazurkas. A true aristocrat of the keyboard whose playing Arthur Rubinstein guided, profoundly respected and loved. The G minor Ballade was magnificent in structure and interpretation possessing intense dramatic narrative force and irresistible momentum.  

Indjic had an understanding of Chopin far beyond the usual musical consciousness of pianists - such divine cantilenas never descending into sentimental bathosThe B minor Sonata was monumental in emotional scope. The expressively demanding Largo suffused by passionate regrets rather than the simple, rather unfocused, lyrical 'poetic' reflections one often hears. The urgent Presto indicated supreme command of the keyboard and the tempo at a true 'non tanto' which addressed the power and accumulating momentum to the triumphant conclusion. 

Róża Światczyńska sensitively referred to his French culture, refinement and elegance so appropriate to Chopin's compositions but often missing in the muscularity of performances today. One must never overlook the magical balance of male and female temperament in Chopin. This profoundly musical artist gave us a sense of nostalgic poignancy rarely heard.

The fine and highly respected, popular Polish music critic, commentator and presenter  Adam Rozlach, who produces fine classical music programmes broadcast on Polish National Radio 1 (Jedynka) and Polish television, also produced a programme on Eugene Indjic. You can listen to Adam Rozlach (also in Polish) with other rare recordings here:,Eugen-Indjic-interpretuje-Fryderyka-Chopina-Audycja-wspomnieniowa-%5BPOS%C5%81UCHAJ%5D

My past review at Chopin Manor, Duszniki Zdrój

Indjic was a close friend of the Artistic Director of this festival 
Prof. Piotr Paleczny 

Saturday 6 August 2016 


Eugen Indjic

In this recital we moved into a sound world of touch, tone and sensibility of a very different time and tradition to that pertaining for the young tyros of 2024. Born in 1947 in Belgrade, the influence of two of his mentors, Arthur Rubinstein and Nadia Boulanger, were immediately apparent in his sound world. If I were to attempt to encapsulate the tone and feeling of the entire recital in a few words I would say 'a triumph of the civilized' in the most uplifting sense of that word.

He opened with five Debussy Preludes from Book II (1910-1912). Such selected small groups for performance were favoured by the composer, depending on the particular affinity for them felt by the pianist.

I felt Indjic finely captured the mysterious unity of the nature of melancholic beauty in the face of death in Feuilles mortes (Dead Leaves). A lovely impressionist portrait in rich colour. Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses (Fairies are Exquisite Dancers) was charming in its fantasy - a more innocent world captured here. The quirky influence of Erik Satie on Debussy seemed inescapable to me in  Général Lavine – eccentric. The water nymph Ondine captured us as the Fireworks (Feux d'artifice) dazzled us. A beautiful impressionistic performance without dynamic or other exaggerations.

He then performed the remarkable  Davidsbündlertänze (Dances of the League of David), Op. 6 (1837), a set of 18 pieces and one of the great works of Western Romantic piano literature. The Davidsbündler (League of David) was a music society founded by Schumann in his literary musings. The League itself was inspired by real or imagined literary societies such as those created by E.T.A Hoffmann. The theme was based on a mazurka by Clara Wieck and was inspired by his love of her which permeates all the works of this period. Literature and music had a symbiotic relationship for Schumann and was a source of the unique qualities of his genius.

The pieces are not really dances but musical dialogues concerning contemporary music between Florestan and Eusebius, characters Schumann created representing the active and passive aspects of his personality. I cannot here analyze each work save to say Eugen Indjic captured much of the poetic, mercurial,  impetuous and the lyrical aspects of Schumann's nature. He preserved the unity of this cycle that allows us to experience ‘music as landscape’ (Charles Rosen).

After the interval the Chopin Scherzo in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39. Chopin completed this work during a period of convalescence in Marseilles. It is 'one of Chopin's most unusual and original works' (Jim Samson). Certainly it is the closest Chopin came to the Lisztian idiom and in the bravura writing I felt Indjic was curiously ever so slightly insecure in this otherwise fine performance. The contrasting drama which suffuses the work was thus left somewhat in abeyance.

With great discrimination we were then treated to the three Impromptus opused for print by ChopinAndre Gide wrote of them: The impromptus are among Chopin's most enchanting works. The great Polish musicologist and Chopin specialist Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski wrote of them: The impromptus offer us music without shade, a series of musical landscapes prefiguring impressionism. 

The autonomous Impromptu genre was not that well established, even for Schubert, when Chopin composed his first but as the years passed he gave the form his own particular identity.

Again, a fine, refined performance lacking in any exaggeration or hysteria (resisting the temptations of the Fantasy-Impromptu) - just the developed sensibility of a mature artist confronted with some of the most affecting of Chopin's music.

The recital concluded with a tremendously dramatic and narrative Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23. The Chopin Ballades in some ways are miniature operas and this was something that sprang to my mind in this theatrical performance. At least for me the feeling of tension that was evident by occasional insecurities only added to the intensity for me, the tension of a pianist courageously pushing and still testing his own limits. All the greatest artists have done so - Horowitz, Schnabel, Cortot...

As encores the quite beautiful Mazurka op. 30 No.1, Schumann's Aufschwung ('Soaring') from the Fantasiestücke, Op. 12 and to conclude a final Chopin mazurka of the utmost refinement.


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