Concert virtuoso - Chamber musician - Arranger - Author - Educator
Friedrich Lips was born on November 18, 1948, in the city of Yemanzhelinsk near Chelyabinsk - around 1,500 kilometers east of Moscow on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains bordering the Asian part of the Soviet Union - to Russian parents of German descent. In 1967, he completed his education at the Glinka Music School in Magnitogorsk, majoring in bayan and conducting under the tutelage of E. Kudinov. Subsequently, lie studied at the National Gnesin Institute for Music Education, where he became master student under Sergey Kolobkov, passed his examinations in bayan and conducting in 1972, and became assistant professor in 1974.
Even before completing his studies, Lips started teaching at the Gnessin Institute in 1971. In 1980, he was named assistant professor and in 1989 full professor. Since 1996, he has been director of the Folks Instrument Department - to which the bayan-accordion belongs - a well-known institution that since has been renamed the Russian Music Academy. As guest professor, he teaches at numerous institutions and academies at home and abroad (for example, in Irún, Spain, and Groningen, Netherlands). His international seminars, master classes, and educational courses are highly esteemed. In addition, he serves as juror at the most important international music competitions. ln 1989, he founded the international music festival Bayan and Bayanists in Moscow, serving as its artistic director to the present time, and initiated the famous Moscow Music Prize for Bayan-Accordion Soloists.
As concert artist, Friedrich Lips won first prize in 1969 for his brilliant performances at the world famous Internationale Musiktage in Klingenthal (GDR). In 1970, the state concert agent Goskontsert started him on his highly successful career as concert and chamber musician, which is unequalled in the bay6n--'accordion scene. In the following 30 years of continuous concert activity, he has performed hundreds of concerts all over the world (including such countries as Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States) in the leading concert halls (such as the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Santori Hall in Tokyo, Lincoln Center in New York, and J. F. Kennedy Center in Washington) working with the most outstanding soloists (among others Vladimir Igolinski, Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Pekarsky, and Vladimir Tonkha) and the most important composers (for example, Sergey Berinsky, Mikhail Bronner, Yevgeny Derbenko, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaydulina, Alexandr Kholminov, Vladimir Podgorny, Efrem Podgaits, Alfred Schnittke, Kirill Volkov, and Vladislav Zolotaryov).
For his exceptional accomplishments, he received the national distinction "Worthy Artist" in 1982 and in 1994, the title "Russian Folk Artist."
Over the years, Friedrich Lips' renown bas extended beyond the bayan-accordion music scene. As interpreter, he has appeared with increasing frequency - especially during the last decade - as guest at the world's most important music festivals, such as in Amsterdam, Boston, Huddersfield, Lockenhaus, Moscow, Portogruaro, Schleswig-Holstein, and Turin. His influence extends as well to other instruments played in chamber music and symphony orchestra performances. Working with various chamber music ensembles and performed with famous orchestras, he has played under the batons of such conductors as Oleg Agarkov, Yuri Bashmet, Dmitry Liss, Lev Markis, Luka Pfaff, Timur Mynbayev, Yuri Nikolayevsky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vladimir Spivakov, and Yuji Takahashi,
Friedrich Lips' exceptional influence on developing music and culture for the bayan-accordion can be described as having historical significance. With un interrupted engagement, he has endeavored to introduce the bayan-accordion instrument to the broadest circle of internationally established composers and musicians. Thus, a large number of new pieces for bayan-accordion (alone and with other instruments) written by well-known composers can be ascribed to his efforts and continual influence. Many works have been dedicated to him personally. He has played the première performances of more than 50 important pieces. More than 100 compositions appear on over two dozen CDs lie has prepared and published in various countries in America, Asia, and Europe. His CD Seven Words, published in Moscow, won the "CD of the Year" prize in 1991 and was distinguished with the "Diapason d'or" award in Paris.
Not content to leave creative accomplishment to others, Friedrich Lips has arranged countless pieces of classic and modern music for the bayan-accordion in such a way that the instrument can be expressed in an ideal manner. Furthermore, he is the author of many articles and books dealing with music theory that have achieved worldwide importance. Perhaps the best known among them is the book he wrote on playing the bayan artistically. First appearing under the title Iskusstvo igry na bajane in Moscow in 1985, it was translated and published in German as Die Kunst des Bajanspiels (Kamen, 1991), and later in English as The Art of Bayan Playing (Kamen, 2000).
The importance of Friedrich Lips' personality and musical creativity will undoubtedly be evaluated during the course of history. However, it can already be recognized that he, more than any other single person, has revolutionalized the music scene, developed young artists, inspired established composers, and propelled bayanistics into the limelight. These accomplishments have been made possible by his exceptional openness, liberalism, and inner tolerance to contrary ideas. Avoiding the danger of becoming one-sided, he steadfastly continues to develop his musical ideas and convince others of the merits that can be derived from his well-considered path.