Obituary: Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini (7 October 1929 – 11 July 2017)12:21, 17th July 2017
The Italian harpsichordist, organist, musicologist and composer Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini has died aged 88.
A key proponent of the historical performance practice movement, Tagliavini played an important role in drawing attention to historical organs in Italy.
Born in Bologna, Tagliavini studied at Bologna and Paris conservatoires before graduating from the University of Padua with a dissertation on Bach’s sacred cantatas in 1951. He taught organ at the conservatoires of Bolzano and Bologna and music history at the University of Parma before being appointed professor for musicology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland in 1965; he occupied this position for 35 years.
His expertise in historic instruments was recognised when he was jointly appointed (with Liuwe Tamminga) as head of historic organs at the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, giving him access to instruments by Lorenzo da Prato (1471-75) and Baldassarre Malamini (1596).
Tagliavini regularly performed as a concert organist in Italy and abroad, and received a number of prizes for his performances and recordings. These included the Premio della discografia italiana in 1972 and 1973, the record prize of the German Phono Academy in 1976, and the Tiroler Adler Order in 1982; in the same year, he became a member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
An active musicologist, Tagliavini co-founded the journal L’organo in 1960. He also wrote a number of papers and published critical editions of works by Frescobaldi, Zipoli and Mozart.
Tagliavini had an important collection of approximately 70 historical keyboard instruments, including harpsichords, organs, pianos and clavichords, which is currently displayed in the Church of San Colombano, Bologna.