Valentina Lisitsa

Piano

Valentina Lisitsa

“In everything she does, there seems to be a special combination of utterly self-assured virtuosity and real lyricism and communication…”

The Guardian, Jun 15th 2012

Biography

Valentina Lisitsa is not only the first «YouTube star» of classical music; more importantly, she is the first classical artist to have converted her internet success into a global concert career in the principal venues of Europe, the USA, South America and Asia.

Washington Post Online wrote: “It’s striking that her playing is relatively straightforward. ‘Straightforward’ is an inadequate term for virtuosity. She does not tart the music up. She does not seek to create a persona, much less impose one on what she is playing. She offers readings that are, when you penetrate through the satin curtains of the soft playing and the thunder of the loud playing, fundamentally honest and direct. You feel you’re getting a strong performer but also a sense of what the piece is like rather than of how Lisitsa plays it. I was impressed, sometimes dazzled and sometimes even taken aback by the ferocity of her fortissimos. And she is also a delicate, sensitive, fluid player who can ripple gently over the keys with the unctuous smoothness of oil.”

The Ukraine-born artist began her musical education in her native city of Kiev at the Lysenko Music School for highly talented children and continued it at the Conservatoire in the city. Not confining herself to the musical world, she also dreamed of a career as a professional chess player. After immigrating to the USA, Valentina launched herself as a piano-duet partner alongside her husband. Several competition successes and the consequent concert engagements marked the start of her life as a concert artist. Soon, however, Valentina Lisitsa looked for new ways of enlarging her audience. Her exceptional sense of new developments and her openness to unconventional approaches proved vital.

She posted her first video on the internet platform YouTube in 2007, a recording of the Etude op. 39/6 by Sergei Rachmaninoff. In a broadcast interview, she said: “My first YouTube clip was a lo-fi VHS recording on an awful school piano, and my hands were out of sync with the sound. But even so, my message came across to people. Straight away they started telling me that my interpretations meant something to them, that they changed things, that they stood out.” The views increased staggeringly; more videos followed. The foundation stone of a social-network career unparalleled in the history of classical music was laid. Her YouTube channel now records 115 million clicks and has over 250.000 subscribers.

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Reviews

“Lisitsa is a serious artist… Her essential attribute is a fevered urgency, an almost desperate desire to suck the expressive marrow from a piece”

The Daily Telegraph

“Her energetic style is most dramatically captured at the end of the Third Concerto, galloping along with a coltish exuberance.”

The Independent

More Reviews

“Lisitsa is a serious artist… Her essential attribute is a fevered urgency, an almost desperate desire to suck the expressive marrow from a piece”

The Daily Telegraph 

” Her energetic style is most dramatically captured at the end of the Third Concerto, galloping along with a coltish exuberance.”

The Independent 

“The YouTube channel of Ukrainian-born classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa has more than 55 million video views and 77,000 subscribers. She has played at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, made a sellout London debut last June at the Royal Albert Hall and ridden her YouTube fame to a deal with a mainstream record label.”

Wall Street Journal 

“The playing was clean, the architecture beautifully shaped, all three movements propelled by a fizzing energy that was under total control.”

The Independent 

“Lisitsa’s playing sounds like a clear stream flowing over rounded pebbles, light, gleaming, glinting but never spiked and cutting.”

The Birkshire Review 

“In everything she does, there seems to be a special combination of utterly self-assured virtuosity and real lyricism and communication…”

The Guardian