Italian organist, harpsichordist, musicologist and composer Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini was born on 7 October 1929 in Bologna, where he later studied composition, piano and organ with Riccardlo Nielsen at the Conservatory. This was followed by studies in Paris with Marcel Dupré, and at the University of Padua, where he wrote a dissertation on the texts of J S Bach's sacred cantatas.
He was librarian and taught organ at Bologna Conservatory, then lectured and taught organ at the Monteverdi Conservatory in Bolzano, taught music history at the University of Parma and then was director of the Institute of Musicology at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, and was a guest professor at various universities in the USA. He also taught at summer courses in Haarlem and Pistoia.
He was considered as one of the most successful concert organists of his generation, and was active in Italy and internationally, also making recordings and receiving awards. With Renato Lunelli, he founded the journal L'organo, which is still being published.
He made a notable contribution to the rediscovery and promotion of historical performance practice for both harpsichord and organ, and was one of the first promoters of Italy's historical organ movement. He made a collection of about seventy musical instruments dating from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century, and including harpsichords, clavichords, pianos, spinets, organs, wind instruments and automatic musical instruments, and donated the collection to the Foundation of the Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna.
He also judged competitions and wrote many musicological papers.
Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini died in Bologna on 11 July 2017, aged eighty-seven.