The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: How YouTube vaulted pianist Valentina Lisitsa to fame and fortune. Plus, here are reminders about concerts today by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. | October 20, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

First, some reminders and alerts.

MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The final performance of the second concert of the season by the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below) is today at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall.

MSO playing

The program, conducted by longtime MSO music director John DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad) features Benjamin Britten’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme on Purcell (also used for the popular ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra); Claude Debussy’s “La mer” (The Sea); and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.2 with guest artist Philippe Bianconi.

John DeMain conducting 2

Here is a link to a Q&A I posted earlier this week with pianist Philippe Bianconi (below) about the Brahms concerto. It also contains other information and useful links about the entire program, including program notes and ticket prices:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/classical-music-qa-what-makes-brahms-piano-concerto-no-2-so-great-french-pianist-philippe-bianconi-discusses-his-upcoming-performances-of-it-this-weekend-with-the-madison-symphony-orc/

bianconi_philippe

So far, the concert has received critical acclaim – and there is still time to catch it this afternoon.

Here is a link to a review by John W. Barker (below) in Isthmus:

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=41208

John-Barker

And here is a link the review by Greg Hettmansberger (below) for Madison Magazine’s blog “Classically Speaking”:

http://www.madisonmagazine.com/Blogs/Classically-Speaking/October-2013/Madison-Symphony-Program-Suggests-a-New-Normal/

greg hettmansberger mug

UW CLARINET RECITAL

Also, tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW-Madison Guest Artist series will present clarinetist Michael Norsworthy (below), who will perform a FREE concert of modern and contemporary works.

The program includes “Pastoral” by Elliot Carter;
 Three American Pieces by Lukas Foss; 
nebraska impromptu by Marti Epstein; 
”SchiZm,” by Derek Bermel; “Black Anemones” by Joseph Schwantner;
 and Souvenirs, by Robert Beaser.

Michael Norsworthy

Michael Norsworthy, professor of clarinet at the Boston Conservatory, is one of the most celebrated champions of the modern repertoire. To date, he has given over 125 world premieres with leading contemporary music groups, including Klangforum Wien, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Manhattan Sinfonietta, Fromm Players at Harvard, Boston Musica Viva, Callithumpian Consort in Boston, Ensemble 21 in New York and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. His current discography numbers over 15 releases and can be found on the Albany, Mode, Gasparo, Canteloupe, BMOP/sound, ECM, Nonesuch, Cirrus Music and Cauchemar labels.

YOUTUBE AND PIANIST VALENTINA LISITSA

Finally, speaking of pianists, as I did above, this past week, The New York  Times featured a comprehensive story about the pianist Valentina Lisitsa (below), who has performed in Madison at least three times – twice in solo recitals at Farley’s House of Pianos and once at the Wisconsin Union Theater as the accompanist for violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn.

Lisitsa_Valentina_2

What makes the story so fascinating is how Lisitsa used the popular website YouTube to launch her career the way that pop stars, not classical stars, so often do. From her success on YouTube she even got a contract with a major record company, Decca Records.

Usually, YouTube features videos of performing artists who have already established their careers. But this time, it worked vice-versa. (At the bottom is a YouTube video of Valentina Lisitsa playing a live performance in Seoul , Korea, of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s popular Prelude in G Minor. It has more than 3.5 million hits!)

The story is a terrific testament to the power of new media in the performing arts.

Here is a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/arts/music/valentina-lisitsa-jump-starts-her-career-online.html?_r=0


2 Comments »

  1. If you plan to go to the concert this afternoon, be sure to go an hour early, at 1:30, to hear the prelude discussion with Wisconsin Public Radio host and Ancora String Quartet/MSO violist Marika Fischer Hoyt. She sets up the concert beautifully with explanations about some of the details mentioned in John Barker’s review.

    Comment by Anders Yocom — October 20, 2013 @ 9:12 am


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