Almost two years ago, I posted an article about the piano exercises of Ernő Dohnányi in which I quoted Dohnányi’s thoughts on the exercises of other composers. Here is another discussion on the same topic.
… But not the way you are used to hearing it. Valentina Lisitsa plays a piano arrangement. Gorgeous! (No cannons were used in this video, but you will hear explosions if you commit to watching to the end.)
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1973, Valentina Lisitsa began playing the piano at the age of three. She enrolled at the Lysenko Music School for Gifted Children and later studied under Ludmilla Tsvierko at the Kiev Conservatory. In 1991 she won the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition together with Alexei Kuznetsoff. The couple married the following year and moved to the USA. In 1995 Lisitsa made her New York debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Since then, she has performed extensively around the world. Her career received a huge boost from a home-made video, shot by her husband in 2006, of Valentina playing the 24 Chopin Études, which the couple posted on YouTube. Subsequent YouTube videos expanded her following, and that’s where I first discovered her. I was dazzled by her technique and the sheer speed at which she renders concert favorites.
With more than 95 million YouTube views and over 439,000 subscribers to her channel, Lisitsa is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube, using digital innovation to champion classical music and performance. Impressed by her YouTube success, the Royal Albert Hall, in an unprecedented step, opened its doors for Valentina’s London debut on June 19, 2012. In that year Valentina Lisitsa signed an exclusive agreement with Decca Classics, and her Albert Hall recital was immediately available as both CD and DVD for pre-order on the night of the concert, her first of many recordings under the label.
Lisitsa is at ease in a vast repertoire ranging from Bach and Mozart to Shostakovich and Bernstein. She has a special affinity for the music of Rachmaninov and Beethoven and continues to add to her vast repertoire each season.
My offerings for Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge:
Lang Lang was born on June 14, 1982 in China. He began piano lessons at age three and performed his first public recital at age five, when he won first place in the Shenyang Piano Competition, the first of many competitions he would win.
When Lang was 15, his father took him to America, where he began studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In a couple of years, he took the classical music scene by storm with his exuberant, highly emotional performance style. If you watch his facial expressions, his enjoyment of his own playing seems almost obscene. And maybe rightly so. His phrasing is sumptuous, his technique unassailable.
The BBC did a documentary on Lang Lang’s life:
Lang Lang is also committed to teaching. I love how he interacts with young Ricky Kam:
You can even watch a series of short lessons Lang Lang has posted on YouTube.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010 Davos (cropped) used under World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010 Davos (cropped) Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
Wonderful articles that will leave you inspired.