Achieving recognition was never an easy task for the classical artist. If an artist was of the required calibre then there were relatively few options open to them such as winning an international competition or perhaps persuading a top impresario to help them. It could take years of concertizing before a career really blossomed.
How things have changed. Social media has opened up a whole new world for artists. Thanks to YouTube, Myspace and the like, everybody now has the opportunity to demonstrate their talents. This was never more apparent than in the career of the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa. Lisitsa is the most popular classical pianist on YouTube – she has had more hits than any other pianist including Lang Lang. Impressive, especially as she has done it all herself.
Valentina Lisitsa set up her own YouTube channel which has received more than 30 million hits and has more than 42,000 subscribers. She is one most popular contemporary classical musicians in the world and has changed perceptions on how classical music can be viewed and performed. Last summer, thousands of music fans worldwide witnessed a live broadcast of her practise sessions as she learnt and prepared 4 hours of new music in daily 14 hour sessions. This allowed Valentina to show a different aspect of her artistic persona. Many of her performances on YouTube have received almost 2 million hits.
Valentina is quite an inspiration particularly to female pianists like myself; it is a fantastic achievement, in my opinion, to be able to reach out to so many fans in this way purely via self promotion. She is also a phenomenal player with a huge technique, plenty or power, beautiful tone production, and above all a musical integrity that shines through in all her performances. Valentina’s independently released DVDs of Chopin’s 24 Etudes held the coveted No 1 spot on the Amazon music video list for months.
Valentina is now in demand around the world, playing in all the major concert halls. If you would like to hear her in the UK, she will be making her debut at the Royal Albert Hall on June 19th 2012. I will certainly be attending. If you can’t wait until then, here is a selection of clips:
For much more information about practising repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece.
If you’re thinking about learning to play the piano, my guide-book, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred) is full of useful help and support.
The Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber) is also a valuable resource for those who desire a collection of standard repertoire from Grades 2 – 8, featuring 78 pieces in total.
I have written a selection of educational piano music (both solo and duet) and you can hear it and find out much more here: EVC Music Publications.