Laszlo Lak memorial service set for Friday, July 15

Laszlo Lak at the Conservatory of Music's Bicentennial Liszt Celebration in April.

Laszlo Lak, a longtime Chapman University faculty member who taught generations of piano students, passed away June 28. Friends and colleagues from the Conservatory of Music in the College of Performing Arts remember Lak as a consummate musician and instructor.

“We will never forget the lessons we have learned from Laszlo — much about music, but mostly about life,” said Grace Fong, D.M.A., assistant professor and director of keyboard studies at Chapman. “He was always up for a good conversation, bristling with new ideas, and sharing his positive force. His life was rich with his faith, music, friends and family, and he was younger at heart than most of us! What I remember most about Laszlo is his humor. In one of my last visits with him, he joked, ‘I guess I will be jammin’ with Liszt!'”

Rick Christophersen, director of administrative operations at the College of Performing Arts, studied under Lak as an undergraduate and recalls him as an inspired teacher.

“Laszlo was an amazingly talented teacher, motivator and kindhearted man.  He will be missed dearly by his colleagues, students and generations of Chapman University alumni,” Christophersen said.

Lak received his musical training in Budapest, Hungary, and continued his studies at the Chicago Conservatory College and the University of Southern California.  He received his master’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He was an active soloist and performed at every major campus in Southern California as well as throughout the United States and Austria.  He frequently performed in solo recitals at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest.  Since 1987, he gave annual faculty recitals at Chapman University.  He was considered a specialist in the music of Liszt and Bela Bartok, featuring their works in his recitals.

A memorial service for Lak will be held Friday, July 15, at 2 p.m. at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, 3800 S. Fairview St., Santa Ana 92704.

Dawn Bonker


  • I was a student of of Professor Lak’s at Biloa. I loved him dearly and am forever greatful for him. I remember running into him at the campus coffee shop where he would buy me lunch and just visit and share. Also, I am probably the only student he ever taught that was not a music major and not the best pianists in the world. When it came time to play my final piece for him he looked at me and laughed and said,”You are not a music major are you? Sit and I will play for you,” and played some beautiful pieces for me. I loved that he took time for me eventhough I was not the best, and not even a music major. I live in the midwest now and at times play piano at church where they think I am not too bad. I was going to call Laszlo and tell him his time on me was not completely lost. My heart goes out to family and friends for he was truely a great man.

  • I had the pleasure of doing Sunday morning music with Laslo at Calvary Chapel. He was always cheerful and energetic and made some awesome music on the piano there! He personally inspired me and helped me expand my musical ability. He was a deeply committed Christian and loved the gospel music…..but he played it with a flair that was challenging to other musicians yet beautiful to hear. I was enriched by my friendship with him.