Ilja Bergh (1927-2015)

Ilja Bergh has led an itinerant life living in Copenhagen, Riga, Kiev and Munich. He received his first proper piano tuition in Kiev between 1935 and 1937. Later he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen, where he graduated in 1957. After that he went to Munich in 1960 for four years, where he studied with the renowned Australian concert pianist Bruce Hungerford and later with Professor Rosl Schmid. After having finished these studies Ilja Bergh stayed in Munich, where he was busy with educational activities as well as taking part in the local musical life by giving many recitals. It was at this time he developed his compositional skills, and since then he has written numerous important works for piano as well as chamber orchestra. Between 1983 and 85, Bergh worked in Turin for the theatre company ‘Compagnia Sperimentale Drammatica’ for whom he wrote the music for several performances.

Apart from his compositional activities, Ilja Bergh has regularly given recitals in Italy, Spain and Germany, where his repertoire - apart from his own compositions - often includes music by Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Aleksander Scriabin, and Olivier Messiaen. In 1983 - with the support of the Danish Augustinus Foundation - Bergh made a record including works by Liszt and Scriabin as well as his own piano music. In 1989 he made the live recording Bergh plays Bergh at Gammelgård, Herlev Arts and Culture Centre; a recording that was released on cassette. In the same year, the work Sound/ Colour/ Injections had its first performance at the Tivoli Concert Hall. It was co-written by Ilja Bergh and the painter Nes Lerpa with support from the Danish Composers' Society and the Danish Arts Foundation. The work attracted much attention and was later performed at the ‘Scala’ in Hamburg and at the ‘Studio für neue Musik’ in Munich. Between 1990 and 1995, he performed five new piano works at Tivoli in Copenhagen, Ispra in Italy, ‘Scala’ in Hamburg, ‘Studio für neue Musik’ in Munich and ‘Institut für neue Musik’ in Berlin.