Brigitte Engerer

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Engerer at the 2009 Folle Journée.

Brigitte Engerer (French: [ɑ̃ɡəʁɛʁ]; 27 October 1952 – 23 June 2012) was a French pianist.


Born in Tunis,[1] French Tunisia, Engerer started piano lessons at the age of four, and by the age of six was performing in public. When she was 11 her family moved to France and she entered the Paris Conservatoire to study under Lucette Descaves.[2] In 1968, aged 15, she was unanimously awarded a first prize in piano, and the following year she won the Concours International Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud. Engerer was subsequently invited to undertake further training at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she joined the class of Stanislav Neuhaus, who said she was "one of the most brilliant and most original pianists of her generation". Though her scholarship was originally for one year, she loved Russia so much that she studied there for nine years.[2][3]

In 1980, her career took a decisive turn when Herbert von Karajan invited her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. She subsequently received engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim, and she was a favourite of conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Zubin Mehta.[3] Her subsequent career was divided between giving recitals and teaching at the Paris Conservatoire. Her last concert took place on 12 June 2012 at the prestigious Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 50 years after playing there for the first time. The performance featured the work of Schumann. She died less than two weeks later, on 23 June, after a several year struggle against cancer. She was 59 years of age.[1][4]

She had been married to the writer Yann Queffélec, with whom she had a daughter, Leonore. She later married Xavier Fourteau, and together they had a son, Harold Fourteau.

Selected discography[edit]


Brigitte Engerer images appear repeatedly in Sophie Laloy's film Je te mangerais (released 11 March 2009), in which she is admired by Mary, the main character.[5] She also plays the classical piano pieces heard in the film.

International awards and honours[edit]

  • Competition Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud
  • Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow
  • Queen Elisabeth Competition of Belgium
  • Grand Prix du Disque for her recording with Philips of Carnival op. 9 and the Carnival of Vienna Robert Schumann
  • Corresponding member of the Institut de France, Academy of Fine Arts
  • Win honor for lifetime achievement, the Victoires de la musique 2011 classic


  • Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
  • Commander of the Order of Merit[6]
  • Commander of Arts and Letters


"I need the transparency of the French piano — and, more important, the rationality of French philosophy. But I needed some of the Russian craziness in my playing. I still do."[2]


  1. ^ a b "French virtuoso pianist Brigitte Engerer dies at 59". France24. 23 June 2012. Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Fox, Margalit (29 June 2012). "Brigitte Engerer, Pianist With Singular Style, Dies at 59". The New York Times. New York. Archived from the original on 20 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary: Brigitte Engerer". Daily Telegraph. London. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  4. ^ " Obscène ? Vous avez dit obscène ! ", 88 notes pour piano solo, Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Neva Editions, 2015, p. 226-227. ISBN 978 2 3505 5192 0
  5. ^ "Brigitte Engerer – IMDb". Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Décret du 13 mai 2011 portant promotion et nomination" (in French). Legifrance. Retrieved 24 June 2012.