The following article written by Kathleen Wiater was published in the AmPol Eagle.
Igor Lipinski is moving on. He’s headed for Northwestern University in Chicago to pursue a doctorate of musical arts in piano performance. He will do so, however, having been chosen the next Victor Borge by the nations most listened-to classical radio station, WQXR, during its first annual Classical Comedy Contest at the legendary Carolines comedy club on Broadway in New York City.
This unique addition to the classical musicians resume is a result of Lipinski vying for the prestigious title along with 78 other hopefuls from around the world. The artists were required to submit videos of their acts, combining classical music with comedy or other forms of performing arts. WQXR chose nine finalists to perform at Carolines, and Lipinski landed a spot on stage to be judged by greats from the classical music world Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame and Metropolitan Opera soprano Deborah Voigt among them and HBO comedian Robert Klein.
Lipinski performed a routine that explained the complexity of music through the immediacy of magic: a piece I developed together with my mentor Teller, the silent half of magicians Penn & Teller. As WNYers who have seen Lipinski perform can imagine, he was a hit and won the contest.
Teller describes Lipinski this way: Igor is an original. He thrills you on the piano. He mystifies you with magical illusions. And he keeps you laughing with his impudent, charismatic charm.
The talented Victor Borge would no doubt have approved the judges selection, and Lipinski was touched to learn that the late musicians family was sitting in the first row during the live final performances.
The event was later broadcast on PBS and attracted attention from the music world. Lipinski will recreate his performance for a special New Years Day concert, along with Chopins Piano Concerto, at the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra.
While Lipinski prepares for this event and a series of his own concerts this coming season in California, Massachusetts and Florida, he remembers fondly a concert last summer in Poland that was his first there in over six years. Held at the Paderewski Manor House, the venue of his high school graduation recital just before he left for the U.S., the concert sold out: all his friends and family attended and it was, he says, A truly joyful celebration.
Lipinski plans to be back in Poland to perform music, magic and symphony orchestra programs in the next couple of years and is excited about playing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra this Friday.
Next, though, is the move to Northwestern. Lipinski would like to become a university professor, having discovered a passion for teaching while working on his masters degree at the Eastman School of Music.
He said that while visiting Chicago he made some wonderful friendships in the Polish community and he fell in love with the arts, culture and fantastic opportunities for young professionals.
Known for its excellent music programs, Northwestern was the only school to which Lipinski applied and he negotiated the competitive waters well, landing one of only three spots.
How does Lipinski sum up the past year and his next goals?
I couldn’t be happier, he says.