Valentina Lisitsa

Saturday April 4, 2015 @ 7:30PM - Centre for the Arts, Brock University

Presented by Bravo Niagara! and the St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre in cooperation with Centre for the Arts, Brock University

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.

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 that Valentina Lisitsa confined her interest to the music world; from time to time, she dreamed of a career as a professional chess player.

1992 saw her emigrate to the USA, where she 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. Over time, however, her career ceased to progress, and 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 click-through rate went up and up, and 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 over 84 million views and more than 167,000 subscribers.

In May 2010, Valentina Lisitsa played the Dutch premiere of the newly arranged "Piano Concerto No. 5“ (based on the Second Symphony) by Sergei Rachmaninoff with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. In August 2011, she debuted with the Orchestra Sinfonica Brasileira under the baton of Lorin Maazel, having previously played with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, WDR SO Cologne, Seoul Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. Her appearances introduced her to such conductors as Manfred Honeck, Yannick Nézét-Séguin and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

A spectacular recital in London's Royal Albert Hall before an audience of 8000 in June 2012 set the seal on her international breakthrough. Listeners had the chance to vote online in advance for their preferred programme – a form of audience participation that has become one of Valentina Lisitsa's "trade marks".

The major label DECCA gave Lisitsa an exclusive artist contract, releasing the live recording of the RAH concert only one month later on CD and DVD. The following CD release presents the complete cycle of Rachmaninoff's four piano concertos and his Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Francis. Valentina Lisitsa presents on her recent CD release various works by Franz Liszt.

In February 2013, Valentina Lisitsa made her debut in the large auditorium of the Berlin Philharmonie. Concert commitments in 2013 and in the 2013/14 season will take her to Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic islands, the Rheingau Music Festival, and to Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart. She also appeared at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall London, in New York and Chicago. In 2014 she will perform in London's Wigmore Hall, at Prinzregententheater München and with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in Vienna and Istanbul.

Valentina Lisitsa records exclusively for Decca Classics and is represented worldwide by Tanja Dorn at IMG Artists. For further information please visit: