Eugen Cicero of Romanian-Hungarian descent, was born in Cluj-Napoca (Klausenburg), Romania, on June 26, 1940. His remarkable musical aptitude manifested itself at a very early age. He started taking piano lessons at the age of four and was taught by some of the country's most renowned teachers. He owed his brilliantly sensitive touch to the instruction he received from Aurelia Cionca, while Ana Pitis initiated him into the virtuoso tradition, as personified by Franz Liszt.
In addition, Cicero studied instrumentation and composition at the National Conservatory in Bucharest. However, neither the prospect of an academic career nor that of becoming a conventional concert pianist appealed to him. He saw these roles as much too restrictive. The key musical philosophy for Cicero was to be receptive towards everything new and to maintain a free spirit in developing his art.
Growing up in a communist country, he found swing music to be a magical source of inspiration. It was therefore almost inevitable that his first concert tour in the sixties took him West to Berlin, the melting pot of European jazz. There, Cicero encountered musicians with a multitude of different styles, and, thanks to his well-honed powers of perception, he was able to adapt some of these to his own musical approach. Soon his personal style crystallized into the so-called Classic-Swing idiom, forging a harmonious link between classical music and mainstream jazz.