Igor Lipinski’s “Piano Illusions”

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Pianist Igor Lipinski unifies two of his passions, classical music and sleight-of-hand magic, in a recital program called “Piano Illusions”. Lipinski plays a sophisticated piano repertoire, from Chopin to Stravinsky, and in between the music, he performs his “Piano Illusions,” creative magic tricks based on the musical selections on the program.

In one of his signature effects developed with Teller of Las Vegas duo Penn & Teller, Lipinski starts by playing a three-part Fugue from Bach’s Toccata in E Minor. Following the performance, he invites a spectator on stage, memorizes a shuffled deck of fifty-two cards, and recites the order of the deck while playing the Bach’s Fugue at the piano.

Teller calls him an original: “He thrills you on the piano. He mystifies you with magical illusions. And he keeps you laughing with his impudent, charismatic charm.”

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT
Lipinski inherited a book on card magic from his great-grandfather when he was six years old. Soon after, he became the youngest member of the Society of Polish Magicians, and by his sixteenth birthday, he performed magic at festivals in Poland, Czech Republic, France, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Lipinski started his first piano lessons at six. At twelve, he won the Grand Prix and the First Prize at the Paderewski Competition for Young Pianists in Kasna Dolna, Poland. At eighteen, he was accepted to study piano performance at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

In addition to majoring in piano performance, Lipinski was accepted to a selective honors program called Musical Arts Major. While working towards his honors thesis, he studied with a theater director on developing a program of music and magic for his senior project.

Harold Weller, Founder of Las Vegas Philharmonic, took interest in Lipinski’s project and shared a video recording of his performance with Teller of Penn & Teller.  After an inspiring collaboration with Teller in Las Vegas, Lipinski won the 2011 WQXR Classical Comedy Contest at Caroline’s on Broadway, a national competition adjudicated by a panel of distinguished classical music judges including Metropolitan Opera’s Deborah Voigt and P.D.Q. Bach’s Peter Schickele.

Upon the success of the competition, Lipinski presented “Piano Illusions” at renowned concert series, festivals, universities, symphony orchestras, and as encores during his classical recitals. In recent years, he performed the program for Musica del Cuore Concert Series in Hong Kong, Gina Bachauer Piano Foundation in Salt Lake City, UT, Dakota Sky International Piano Festival in Sioux Falls, SD, Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, CA, Music on Mondays Concert Series in New York, NY, University of South Florida Steinway Concert Series in Tampa, FL, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, NY, Lakes Area Music Festival Orchestra in Brainerd, MN, and Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra in Hyannis, MA.

After graduating with his BM & MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Lipinski earned his DMA in Piano Performance at Northwestern University where he researched the history of recital programming in his doctoral dissertation: “From Liszt to Victor Borge: A Legacy of Unique Piano Performances.” After completing his first faculty appointment at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2016-17, he joined the piano faculty at the University of Oklahoma as the Assistant Professor of Piano in Fall 2017.

CONCERT REVIEWS
Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News
“As a pianist on the cusp of his career, Igor Lipinski holds a special card in his hands. His performances are magical. Literally.”

Teller of Penn & Teller, Rio Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
“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.”

Harold Weller, Conductor and Founder, Las Vegas Philharmonic
“Igor’s unique combination of music and magic will thrill and excite you and leave you wanting more!”

Tony Caramia, Professor of Piano, Eastman School of Music
“I want to tell you all just how impressive his show is, in so many ways. His playing, of course, is just so effortless, effective, evocative, sensitive, virtuosic, and technically brilliant. He somehow manages to make GEVA clunker of a grand sound lyrical and lush, with colors that most pianists don’t possess on a decent instrument. It must be part of his magic!

His talk to the audience in between “tricks” and piano pieces flows so effortlessly. The use of language is personal, direct, and captivating; with well-chosen images, as well as directives to the audience to imagine and follow his journey; he creates an event of joy, discovery, and, yes, magic.

And there is the magic itself: creative, mesmerizing, thrilling, and yet never simplistic or intimidating. Needless to say, the tricks generate a “How’d he do that?!” and that’s part of the fun. But what I loved even more was the interaction between music and magic. For all of us at Eastman, music is magical, in spite of our endeavors to study its history, theory, etc. But fundamentally, music is magic in sound and silence, and Igor’s show highlights that definition perfectly.

I hope each and every one of you can experience this unique and personal offering: Igor deserves such an audience, and you deserve to witness this amazing exhibition of talent, creativity and inspiration.”