Background informationBorn25 March 1973(age 46)
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet UnionGenresClassicalOccupation(s)Classical pianistInstrumentsPianoYears active1977-presentWebsitevalentinalisitsa.com
Lisitsa is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube – particularly her renderings of Romantic Era virtuoso piano composers, including Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Lisitsa independently launched her career on social media, without initially signing with a tour promoter or record company.
Life and career
Lisitsa was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1973. Her mother, also named Valentina, is a seamstress and her father, Evgeny, was an engineer. Her older brother Eugene died in 2009.
She started playing the piano at the age of three, performing her first solo recital at the age of four. She is of Russian and Polish descent.
Despite her early aptitude for music, her dream at that point was to become a professional chess player.Lisitsa attended the Lysenko music school and, later, the Kiev Conservatory, where she and her future husband, Alexei Kuznetsoff, studied under Dr. Ludmilla Tsvierko.When Lisitsa met Kuznetsoff, she began to take music more seriously. In 1991, they won the first prize in The Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida.That same year, they moved to the United States to further their careers as concert pianists. In 1992 the couple married. Their New York debut was at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in 1995.
To advance her career, in 2010 Lisitsa and her husband put their life savings into recording a CD of Rachmaninoff concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the spring of 2012, before her Royal Albert Hall debut, Lisitsa signed with Decca Records, who later released her Rachmaninoff CD set. By mid-2012 she had logged nearly 50 million views of her YouTube videos.
Lisitsa has performed in various venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Benaroya Hall, Musikverein and the Royal Albert Hall. She is well known for her online recitals and practicing streams. She has also collaborated with violinist Hilary Hahn at various recital engagements.
Lisitsa has received criticism for her opposition to the Ukrainian government and support of pro-Russian separatists since the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine and the ensuing armed conflict. In April 2015, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra cancelled concerts with Lisitsa, citing her “provocative” online remarks on her Twitter account; the orchestra initially did not specify which tweets or other commentary it believed crossed a line. Later, on 8 April 2015, the CEO of Toronto Symphony, Jeff Melanson provided a PDF document of seven pages listing the most “offensive” tweets. Melanson alleged that the document would “help people understand why we made this decision, and understand as well how this is not a free speech issue, but rather an issue of someone practicing very intolerant and offensive expression through Twitter.”
In response, the Toronto Star criticized the orchestra’s decision in an editorial, noting that, “Lisitsa was not invited to Toronto to discuss her provocative political views. She was scheduled to play the piano. And second, banning a musician for expressing “opinions that some believe to be offensive” shows an utter failure to grasp the concept of free speech.” Lisitsa said that the orchestra threatened her if she spoke about the cancellation.
According to Paul Grod, then president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress: “Ms. Lisitsa has been engaged in a long campaign on social media belittling, insulting and disparaging the people of Ukraine as they face direct military aggression at the hands of the Russian Federation”. Grod elaborated that “Most disturbing are Ms. Lisitsa’s false allegations that the government of Ukraine is “Nazi”, and stating that the Government of Ukraine is setting up ‘filtration camps.'” The New Jersey-based Ukrainian Weekly has described her postings as “anti-Ukraine hate speech.” In response she commented that “satire and hyperbole [are] the best literary tools to combat the lies”.
Lisitsa has recorded six CDs for Audiofon Records, including three solo CDs and two discs of duets with her husband Alexei Kuznetsoff; a Gold CD for CiscoMusic label with cellist DeRosa; a duet recital on VAI label with violinist Ida Haendel; and DVDs of Frédéric Chopin’s 24 Études and Schubert-Liszt Schwanengesang.
Her recording of the four sonatas for violin and piano by composer Charles Ives, made with Hilary Hahn, was released in October 2011 on Deutsche Grammophon label. Her album Valentina Lisitsa Live at the Royal Albert Hall (based on her debut performance at that venue 19 June 2012) was released 2 July 2012.
Lisitsa has reproduced several compositions by various artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin and Ludwig van Beethoven. Decca Records released her complete album of Rachmaninoff concertos in October 2012. An album of Liszt works was released in October 2013 on Decca label in 2 formats – CD and 12″ LP which was cut unedited from analog tape. An even more recent album comprises a number of works of the composer and pianist Philip Glass. As of July 2019, her latest release on Decca records is a 10CD set titled Tchaikovsky: The Complete Solo Piano Works.
^ Everett-Green, Robert (7 December 2012). “Valentina Lisitsa: Playing the odds – by way of Rachmaninoff”. The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
^ “Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff”. Southern Arts Federation. Retrieved 12 July2009.
Franz Liszt wrote drafts for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in A major, S.125, during his virtuoso period, in 1839 to 1840. He then put away the manuscript for a decade. When he returned to the concerto, he revised and scrutinized it repeatedly. The fourth and final period of revision ended in 1861. Liszt dedicated the work to his student Hans von Bronsart, who gave the first performance, with Liszt conducting, in Weimar on January 7, 1857.
The Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1785. The first performance took place at the Mehlgrube Casino in Vienna on February 11, 1785, with the composer as the soloist.
Valentina Lisitsa – Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto Nº 3 in D Minor, Op.30 (Part 1 of 5)
| Orquesta de la Ciudad de los Reyes
Director: Pablo Sabat
|Auditorio del Colegio Santa Ursula
Lima – Peru, 10 Diciembre 2009
For those who claim to feel “motion sickness” while watching what I see from the performer’s vantage point 🙂 a single side shot with Canon camera – this and GoPro were used to mix the complete sonata. See my comments in the description of GoPro version – in this playlist .
This video just proves that playing piano is just as exciting as mountain biking, paragliding – or just doing silly stuff with GoPro camera as a companion 🙂 Fortunately no helmet is required for piano playing…unfortunately, no good place to conceal it. Ah yes, one more thing – I got unusually large share of “hate mail” for using GoPro for Bach Chaconne. While I never use an argument ” if you are so smart, why don’t you do it better?” for music-related negative comments ( after all it is unfair to couch “musicologists’ who are mostly frustrated amateurs or students, in case of video it’s a different story. I am just as amateur as any , if you don’t like the way the video is done – be my guest :-)))
I post here GoPro view , and in another video in the same playlist – the other , normal camera view. An open invitation to all would-be-critics : instead of unloading your disdain here ,download the camera angles , mix your own , ideal, version and post it on YT. I will be more than happy to see your masterpiece :-))) Good luck!
Schumann Kinderszenen Op 15 – Valentina Lisitsa Haskil Argerich Horowitz Bosendorfer
Kinderszenen (German pronunciation: [ˈkɪndɐˌst͡seːnən]; original spelling Kinderscenen, “Scenes from Childhood“), Opus 15, by Robert Schumann, is a set of thirteen pieces of music for piano written in 1838. In this work, Schumann provides us with his adult reminiscences of childhood. Schumann had originally written 30 movements for this work, but chose 13 for the final version. Robert Polansky has discussed the unused movements.
Nr. 7, Träumerei, is one of Schumann’s best known pieces; it was the title of a 1944 German biographical film on Robert Schumann. Träumerei is also the opening and closing musical theme in the 1947 Hollywood film Song of Love, starring Katharine Hepburn as Clara Wieck Schumann.
Schumann had originally labeled this work Leichte Stücke (Easy Pieces). Likewise, the section titles were only added after the completion of the music, and Schumann described the titles as “nothing more than delicate hints for execution and interpretation”. Timothy Taylor has discussed Schumann’s choice of titles for this work in the context of the changing situation of music in 19th century culture and economics.
In 1974, Eric Sams noted that there was no known complete manuscript of Kinderszenen
|1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
Of Foreign Lands and Peoples
|2. Kuriose Geschichte
A Curious Story
Blind Man’s Bluff
|4. Bittendes Kind
|5. Glückes genug
|6. Wichtige Begebenheit
An Important Event
|8. Am Kamin
At the Fireside
|9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
Knight of the Hobbyhorse
|10. Fast zu ernst
Almost Too Serious
|12. Kind im Einschlummern
Child Falling Asleep
|13. Der Dichter spricht
The Poet Speaks
Special thanks to http://www.jorquerapianos.com/ for one of the best pianos I ever encountered
Published on May 7, 2014
Special thanks to http://www.jorquerapianos.com/ for one of the best pianos I ever encountered
FROM VALENTINA: “This is Chopin’s response to Liszt’s “Funerailles” ( I know, I know, Liszt wrote it AFTER Chopin died – so let’s say it was Liszt’s response to Chopin’s Fantasy) The same plan – starting with a funeral introduction , same f -minor, same abundance of octaves… But Funerailles is a great piano war-horse, favorite of any “virtuoso” with a decent octave technique – sure and cheap way to impress and thrill the audiences. Fantasy in comparison is a poor cousin , underappreciated and often misunderstood : the worst offenders are often female pianists ( LOL, huuuuuge grin goes here ) playing it in overly sentimental and romanticized way – complete with hands flailing , eyes rolling and hair flying 🙂 Guys just can’t do it 🙂
How did it happen? Liszt was a great self-promotion and marketing guy – he discovered a neat trick of “programming” in music , forcing music “to tell a story”- and listeners suddenly thought ” Gee, now we understand what this music is about , how cool !” This was his trademark -but it was certainly not his invention. In fact , most if not all music has a “program” , something composer thought of when composing and something we think of when we listen .It can be something very concrete and extremely detailed ( Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique for example)- or just a vague hint of an idea that makes us think further ( Beethoven 5th Symphony ).The problem with detailed programs is that music can become “dated” , tied to a certain event that might be of no importance to future listeners. People can relate in perpetuity to ” the fate knocking on the door” of the 5th symphony. But we can never again ( hopefully ) feel what French audience must have felt on Berlioz’ premiere during the third movement with its guillotine strike. I bet their hair was standing up and Goosebumps were covering the listeners who still remembered Terror some years before…I think that even watching Avatar in 3D is nothing in comparison to that experience 🙂
Chopin was much more subtle in his “programs”-he catered to more sophisticated smaller audience of salons rather than big concert halls. These people knew the historical context and could understand him without need to spell it out . In order to fully appreciate his music we must know at least a bit of history too. Then it becomes clear that Chopin was so different from a stereotyped effeminate ,sickly romantic virtuoso image. He was a true titan, not in body but in spirit – singlehandedly ( with few brethren poets ,artists etc.)keeping the whole people from oblivion and cultural destruction. For his people , his country, was at this time a mere geographic term . Formerly a proud and powerful nation ,one of Europe superpowers, Poland has fallen so low because of internal discord that it was picked piece by piece by strong and brutal neighbors until it disappeared. New “owners” were bent on wiping national identity and pride to secure their new acquisitions. They would have succeeded was it not for Chopin. You know that musicologists call him a first” national” composer. For a good reason – he created an epic of his nation in music just as Homer created his in Odyssey or Virgil in Aeneid… And we are not only talking about things like Polonaises or Mazurkas fitting into this “national” category. Fantasy is a prime example of thinly veiled national music. Why? Bear with me while I take you through last foray into history. Chopin and his family ended up in a part of Poland that was grabbed by Russian Empire. He traveled abroad with Russian passport ( Chopin , a Russian composer ? LOL) and he had to lie on his exit visa application ( yes, I am serious ) that he is in transit to New World, Americas. He lived for almost whole his life with a stamp ” in Transit”. The single event in history that changed his life was Polish uprising of 1830-31, a noble but doomed to fail attempt by patriots to overthrow occupying forces ( Revolutionary Etude was written the night he got the news of Russian Cossacks entering Warsaw , he didn’t know if his family even survived all carnage and rape ) . The rebels was brutally destroyed and all the hope of freedom was lost. Chopin realized that he will never see his native land – or even his family. All his life he was carrying in his soul – and in his music – the memory of this event and of its unsung heroes. Fantasy is an ode to all those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.”
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Valentina Lisitsa (Ukrainian: Валентина Лисиця, translit. Valentyna Lysytsya) is a Ukrainian-born and trainedclassical pianist who resides in North Carolina. Lisitsa is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube and is often praised as a highly commendable pianist. Lisitsa followed a unique path to success, independently launching the beginnings of her career via social media, without initially signing to a tour promoteror record company.
Despite her early disposition to music, her dream at that point was to become a professional chess player.Lisitsa attended the Lysenko music school for Gifted Children and, later, Kiev Conservatory, where she and her future husband, Alexei Kuznetsoff, studied under Dr. Ludmilla Tsvierko. It was when Lisitsa met Kuznetsoff that she began to take music more seriously. In 1991, they won the first prize in The Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida. That same year, they moved to the United States to further their careers as concert pianists. In 1992 the couple married. Their New York debut was at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in 1995.
After the death of her manager, and with the thought that she was “just another blonde Russian pianist” Lisitsa almost gave up on her career as a concert pianist, and contemplated becoming a local worker for the government in Washington, D.C., but changed her mind at the last minute influenced by one of her new fans in England. Lisitsa posted her first YouTube video in 2007, gaining even more online attention after uploading her own set of Chopin etudes online for free (in response to an illegal upload of the same set beforehand). Her set of Chopin etudes reached the number one slot on Amazon’s classical video recordings, and became the most-viewed online set of Chopin etudes on YouTube.
Furthering her career, Lisitsa and her husband put their life savings in recording a CD of Rachmaninov concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2010. In the spring of 2012, before her Royal Albert Hall debut, Lisitsa was signed on to Decca Records, who later released her Rachmaninov CD set. By mid-2012 she had nearly 50 million views on her YouTube videos.
Lisitsa has performed in various venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Benaroya Hall, Musikverein and Royal Albert Hall. She is well known for her online recitals and practicing streams. She has also collaborated with violinist Hilary Hahn for various recital engagements.
Lisitsa has recorded six CDs for Audiofon Records, including three solo CDs and two discs of duets with her husband Alexei Kuznetsoff; a Gold CD for CiscoMusic label with cellist DeRosa; a duet recital on VAI label with violinist Ida Haendel; and DVDs of Frédéric Chopin’s 24 Etudes, Schubert–Liszt Schwanengesang.
Her recording of the 4 sonatas for violin and piano by composer Charles Ives, made with Hahn, was released in October 2011 on Deutsche Grammophone label. Her album “Valentina Lisitsa Live at the Royal Albert Hall” (based on her debut performance at that venue 19 June 2012) was released 2 July 2012.
Lisitsa has recently recorded several projects from the composers Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Chopin, and Beethoven. Her complete album of Rachmaninoff concertos was released in October 2012 by Decca Records. The most recent album of Liszt works was released in October 2013 on Decca label in 2 formats – CD and 12″ LP which was cut unedited from analog tape.
Finally a chance to use all 97 keys, live , on video 🙂
In the original score , the decending broken octaves passage ( so-called martellato, around 8:00“) is reduced in left hand to a single line at the bottom , when Liszt-times piano run out of keys to decsend. The effect of using the missing lower octave – particulalry in live setting – is simply stupendous. There is nothing that can match sound of roaring Imperial extra-low notes! It has to be heard live – or at least in analogue recording ( that I am going to make very soon , a “Liszt project ” ) . This is the piano I am going to use 🙂 Bosy rules !!!!
Live footage from the recording session. London Symphony Orchestra , Michael Francis conducting. The recording is available now on Decca. Get yours today! 🙂
Uploaded on Feb 5, 2009/523,782Views
Great Compositions/Performances: Beethoven Sonata No. 8 in C minor Op. 13 “Pathétique” Live – Lisitsa
Special for my German fans! List of info for upcoming concerts in Deutschland in the next couple of weeks below . Munchen (Mar24), Stuttgart(Mar27), Heidelberg(Apr 7)
Do come ! For Beethoven and more :-)))