Death of a leading pianist, 89

Death of a leading pianist, 89


norman lebrecht

September 18, 2019

The death was announced in Paris yesterday of Daniel Wayenberg, Holland’s most prominent mid-century pianist.

Winner of the MargueriteLong-Jacques Thibaud competition in 1949, he moved to France to study with Long and made his US debut in 1953 with the New York Philharmonic and Dmitri Mitropoulos.

After early success, Wayenberg devoted much of his time to composing orchestral works.



  • Prix D'excellence says:

    I was fortunate to witness some wonderful performances by Daniel Wayenberg when I lived in Holland. He was a lovely man, and really the first Dutch concert pianist who enjoyed a “career”. He was able to diversify easily and besides being a great interpreter of the Romantic composers, he was able to turn his hand to Jazz. I own an LP of him and Louis van Dijk together on two pianos, and the playing is superb. RIP Daniel, the world has lost another great talent.

    • steven holloway says:

      I rather think Egon Petri and Cor de Groot had careers as concert pianists, and I should like to think they enjoyed them. Among pianophiles at least, Petri remains an immensely significant pianist. Cor de Groot is not entirely forgotten, but he deserves more attention than he receives.

    • Ruben Greenberg says:

      He was truly a lovely, cultured man and a very fine pianist at home in any style. He will be missed in France, for he was a Francophile and a Francophone, like Jorg Demus who also left us very recently.

  • Edgar Self says:

    A sad loss, but a long and useful life.

    I also thought of Ferruccio Busoni’s pupil, the eminent Dutch pianist Egon Petri, and his students when he and Darius Milhaud taught at Mills College in the Oakland hills. I heard Petri play the Beethoven sonata cycle in Veterans Auditorium in San Francisco and record it with engineer Wahlberg, I think for issue on the Westminster label.

    • Egon Petri’s family was Dutch, and he was a Dutch citizen, but he was born and raised in Germany. Apparently, he never lived in the Netherlands, and he didn’t speak enough Dutch to feel comfortable enough in that language to converse with Queen Wilhelmina when he performed in her presence (they spoke German, according to the Wikipedia page about Egon Petri).

      I think that not to know that he was Dutch is a forgivable error!

  • Edgar Self says:

    That’s Richard Wahlberg, excellent San Francisco recording engineer, with keen ear and memory.

  • Paul Carlile says:

    A wonderful musician and a true virtuoso. I heard my first “live” Brahms 2nd concerto from him, in my early teens- marvellous, and subsequently heard him in recital over the years. More recently i heard him several times in a private recital series in Marseille and had the chance to discuss many musical and artistic subjects; he was cultivated, informed, witty and warm.

    Even at an advanced age he kept his natural facility with his instrument, one programme consisted of Chopin: études op 10 followed by Liszt 12 Etudes Transcendente! Another time it was Albeniz: Iberia (complete)… holding no terrors for him!

    Just watching this “Islamey” clip reminds me; when he played it on the slightly worse-for-wear 3/4 grand in Marseille, he ruefully told me afterwards that he’d neglected to test the piano for the redoubtable octave-glissando, (it doesn’t always work easily on older or lesser pianos), so at the last instant he opted for the two-hand glissando, obliging a rapid “deplacement” of the left hand immediately for the bass. Fortunately he got to the right place at the right time, a risky bass being preferable to the right hand jamming up halfway as, he confided, had happened on elderly instruments in smaller venues.

    A fine musician’s long life, well lived. With thanks, RIP.