Pianist Brigitte Engerer Dies at 59

Tributes have been paid after the French virtuoso pianist Brigitte Engerer died in Paris on Saturday. She was 59 and had been battling cancer for several years.

A statement from French President Francois Hollande said that he was "saddened" to hear the news of her passing and said that her Engerer’s "talent… honoured France."

He added: "We will all remember her great personal bravery."

Stanislas Neuhaus, her teacher at the Moscow Conservatory, once described Engerer as "one of the most brilliant pianists of her generation."

"Her playing is characterised by its artistry and romantic spirit, its depth, the perfection of her technique and her innate ability to reach the listener," he said.

Born on October 27, 1952 in Tunis, Engerer started playing the piano at age four and went to study at the Paris Conservatory aged 11.

In 1969 she left Paris for the Moscow Conservatory which gave her a deep affiliation with the works of Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky.

Her skills as a soloist were so admired that she performed with some of the world's top orchestras in Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Japan and the US. Engerer also regularly performed with other instrumentalists such as the violinist Olivier Charlier and the cellist Henri Demarquette.

She received the French Legion of Honour, and in 2011 was given a lifetime achievement award by the French music industry.

Engerer gave her last concert on June 12 at the Champs-Elysees Theatre in Paris playing Schumann with the Paris Chamber Orchestra.