Guest Artist Bio
Described by critics as a "bona fide angel playing" and an "electrifying pianist,” the Ukrainian-born Valentina Lisitsa has been receiving rave reviews since her arrival in the United States in 1991.
Born to a family of non-musicians in Kiev, Ukraine, Lisitsa began playing the piano at the age of 3 and performed her first solo recital at age 4. But unlike most music prodigies, she did not think about a career as a concert pianist. Lisitsa had a different dream: to become a professional chess player. With a minimum of practice time, she sailed through the Kiev Conservatory, winning competitions along the way, by relying on her extraordinary sight-reading abilities and photographic memory.
Lisitsa attributes her effortless technique to hours of mindless repetition of the most difficult passages while simultaneously devouring a books that interested her, which she kept open on her music stand. This way, she explains, she was able to convince her family that she was practicing. It was only when she met Alexei Kuznetsoff, a fellow student at the conservatory and her future partner in life as well as in duo-pianism, that Lisitsa started thinking about music seriously. Kuznetsoff, a serious and knowledgeable musician, became the major influence ion her career.
The first major enterprise undertaken by the young couple turned out to be not only a great success but a turning point in their lives. They decided to prepare for the most important two-piano competition in the world: the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in the United States.
In one year of intense work they achieved something that ordinarily takes decades – becoming a seamless unity as a duo-piano team. Their reward, in addition to winning first prize in the 1991 competition, was an opportunity to move to the United States and launch a career as one of the most highly esteemed piano duos in the country, beginning with their orchestral debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in New York.
As a soloist with more 30 concerti in her repertoire, Lisitsa has crisscrossed the globe performing with such orchestras as the Sao Paolo Symphony in Brazil, the New Zealand Philharmonic and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. These concerts mark her fourth appearance as a soloist with the Oregon Symphony in the past two years.
Valentina Lisitsa is a Bösendorfer artist. More information on the web: valentinalisitsa.com.