Radu Lupu (1945-2022)

Radu Lupu, the eminent Romanian pianist whose introspective performances of Brahms, Schubert and other music in which expressive depth outweighs virtuosity, has died at 76.

A pupil of Florica Musicescu, the teacher of Dinu Lipatti, and Heinrich Neuhaus, whose students also included Emil Gilels and Sviatoslav Richter, Lupu launched an international career after winning top prizes in two major competitions, the Van Cliburn in 1966 and the Leeds in 1969.

“He is somewhat different from the regulation contest winner, in that he is not primarily a brilliant and impeccable technician,” wrote Raymond Ericson in The New York Times after Lupu’s Carnegie Hall debut in 1967, a review quoted in David Allen’s obituary in The Times. “Mr. Lupu reportedly said that he would have liked to have made a career playing ‘nothing but slow movements,’ ” Allen writes.

Lupu maintained a high-profile but limited performance schedule, and was disinclined to make recordings. His discography of concertos and solo and chamber works, filling fewer than two dozen compact discs, most recorded in the 1970s and ’80s, is among the smallest of major pianists’ of his generation.

Suffering from chronic ill health, he retired in 2019.

Allen’s Times obituary: