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 446.000 subscribers and 180 million views with an average 80000 views per day.
During the season 2017-2018 Valentina will be on tour with the Russian State Philharmonic in Great Britain with concerts in London, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Warwick and plays recitals during a South America Tour in Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. She is invited to numerous festivals such as Palermo Classica Festival, Festival der Stille, Festival Savoy Truffle in Megève and will make her debuts in Singapore and China. Moreover, Valentina will appear in the USA, Korea, South Africa, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium. A Special highlight of the upcoming season will be a concert in honor of the King of Taipei.
Highlights of the past seasons were amongst others a sold out concert at Auditorio Nacional with the Valentina Lisitsa, Piano and Spanish National Orchestra, where Valentina played all piano concerts as well as the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergej Rachmaninoff in one evening. With this more or less historical event Valentina managed to captivate her audience until the very end as one could also read in the press: “Lisitsa, with an unstoppable natural strength, evolved a charming musicality and a staggering virtuosity on the beautiful Bösendorfer, complemented by a fascinating physical endurance. Every single one of those five masterpieces alone already leaves most of the grand pianists breathless; to play all of them together in one evening is simply impossible for the most.”
In 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 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 Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Seoul Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. 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. In February 2013, Valentina Lisitsa made her debut in the large auditorium of the Berlin Philharmonie and she also appeared at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall London. In 2014 she performed with Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi, with Staatskapelle Dresden at Semperoper, in London's Wigmore Hall, at Prinzregententheater Munich and with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in Vienna and Istanbul.
Recent highlights were performances with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Orchestre National de Radio France, Strasbourg Philarmonic, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Norrköpings Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and Prague Symphony Orchestra.
Valentina Lisitsa has collaborated with renowned conductors such as Paavo Järvi, Kristjan Järvi, Vasily Petrenko, Manfred Honeck, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Dmitrij Kitajenko, JukkaPekka Saraste, Michael Francis, Thomas Sanderling, and Lorin Maazel among others.
Furthermore she is a welcome guest at many famous music festivals. The highlights include her performances at Bristol Proms, Tivoli Festival, Zaubersee Festival Lucerne, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Heidelberger Frühling, Rheingau Music Festival, Nordlysfestivalen Tromsø, Ankara Piano Festival, Cartagena, and Ravello Music Festivals in Italy.
Valentina Lisitsa records exclusively for Decca Classics. Her discography contains amongst others recordings of every piano concert by Sergei Rachmaninoff, works by Chopin, Philipp Glass, Liszt and Scriabin as well as her latest CD «Love Story – Piano Themes from the Cinema’s Golden Age» with major film music from the 1920s.
Valentina Lisitsa is represented worldwide by Natalja Slobodyreva at IMG Artists.