born on 26/6/1940 in Klausenburg, Romania
died on 5/12/1997 in Zürich, ZH, Switzerland
Eugen Cicero (27 June 1940, Cluj, Romania 5 December 1997, Zürich, Switzerland), nicknamed "Mister Golden Hands", was a Romanian-German jazz pianist who performed in the mixed classical-swing style.
Born in Cluj, Romania, Cicero was of Romanian-Hungarian descent. He started playing piano aged four and was trained by the leading Romanian teachers. At age six he already performed a Mozart piano concert with the symphony orchestra of Cluj. Despite graduating from the National Conservatory in Bucharest, he abandoned a career a conventional concert pianist and established his style in between classical and jazz piano, introducing swing harmonies into baroque, classical and romantic compositions, often as spontaneous improvisations.
In 1962, while touring East Berlin, Cicero fled to West Berlin. He spent next two years in Switzerland, where he joined the Kindli orchestra of Joe Schmid. After returning to Germany, Cicero produced over 70 recordings, some of them with the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic orchestras. He had numerous appearances on German TV and enjoyed much success while touring Japan. In 1976 he was awarded the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis for his interpretations of Franz Schubert.
In 1982 Cicero moved to Switzerland where he died in 1997, aged 57. His son Roger (born 1970) also became a renown jazz pianist.