Robert Riefling
Norway, °1911 - 1988
PIANO 1938 : Sixth Prize
Robert Riefling distinguished himself as a pianist in the world with a play marked by perfect technique, thoroughly and deeply personal interpretations, an unflagging musical taste and a prodigious memory that enabled him to rehearse the greatest piano works without the use of the instrument. He toured throughout the Western world and was one of the most sought-after Norwegian pianist in the 20th century.

He was a student of Nils Larsen in Oslo, studied from 1929 to 1932 with Charles Heidelberg, Wilhelm Kempff and Edwin Fischer in Germany and in Paris in 1934. He first appeared as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Oslo in 1922 and debuted at their own piano evening at the University Hall in 1925.

In 1936 Robert Riefling won first prize in a major Nordic music competition in Copenhagen, and two years later he won 6th prize in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. The same year he completed a tour of the Balkans as an orchestral soloist with conductor Bruno Walther. Widely known were his interpretations of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

Robert Riefling was deeply implied into Norwegian contemporary music and premiered works such as Klaus Egge's Fantasy in Halling, Harald Sæverud's Piano Concerto, Johannes Rivertz' Play and dance and Fartein Valen's Variations opus 23. He had a close relationship with the latter and recorded all of his piano works on disc. His sense of contemporary music resulted in a recording of Paul Hindemith's Ludus Tonalis. He was also an esteemed interpreter of Grieg's works. In total Robert Riefling completed nearly 80 recordings.

From 1938 he started to receive students, first privately, and from 1941 in his own Piano Institute, RIEFLING Piano Institute, which he ran in Oslo together with his brother, Reimar Riefling until 1951. From 1950 he was a piano teacher in Copenhagen and in 1967 he was professor of piano at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory. With the establishment of the Norwegian Academy of Music in 1973, he became the first piano professor there, a position he held until his retirement in 1981. He held master classes in several countries and was also a judge at major international piano competitions in Vienna, Munich and in the Nordic countries.

As an educator Robert Riefling was known for his accuracy in relation to the written notation. He could perceive the slightest bump and imbalances in the estimates and finger use. His repertoire enabled him to see the opportunities for each individual student, and his loyalty to the work and its nature was a guiding principle for many who received lessons from him.

Robert Riefling received numerous awards and honors, including the O. Christensen Memorial Prize in Copenhagen (1945) and the Grand Prix de Disque in Paris (1965). That same year he received the Oslo critics honorary award, in 1970 the Music Critics Award, in 1979 the Lindeman Award and in 1985 the Oslo City Culture Prize. He was made Knight of the 1st of the Royal Norwegion Order of St. Olav in 1957, was knighted by the Order of Dannebrog and was awarded the German Order of Merit.
Final (29/05/1938)
Johannes Brahms Concerto n. 1 in D minor op. 15
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata n. 32 in C minor op. 111
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sonata n. 10 in C major KV 330
Fryderyk Chopin Fantasy in F minor op. 49
Maurice Ravel Ondine (Gaspard de la nuit)
Aleksandr Skryabin Sonata n. 4 in F sharp major op. 30
Charles Scharrès Scherzo Fantastique
Robert Riefling
Orchestre Symphonique de l'INR, dir. Franz André
Relive the performances of Voice 2023
H.M. Queen Mathilde
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