It was standing room only when Youtube's favourite pianist turned up in a village church

It was standing room only when Youtube's favourite pianist turned up in a village church


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2011

Here’s the first account I have received from a member of the audience at Valentina Lisitsa’s recital at Perivale church last night:

There were fans from all points of the compass who had made the journey to West London – It was standing room only by start time. Val’s playing was stupendous. The colour and range that she coaxed from the piano were unbelievable – the gradual fading of crescendi persisting as gorgeous pianissimo movements entered the consciousness – sounds that I never could imagine coming from just one instrument. Fingers caressing the keys before exploding into a mesmerising flurry of movement and amazing sound. My heart was racing and I was only a spectator!
By the end there was a buzz of excitement and joy as the audience crowded round to meet and greet a truly great pianist who deserves to grace all the great stages of the music world.

Val’s on a train to Paris at the moment, but expect to hear more….


  • Thanks, Norman! For some reason I have not previously encountered Valentina Lisitsa, but I will sure keep an eye out for her now. I just put up a post talking about what is it about her playing that is so powerful:

  • Edward says:

    I was at the concert, and feel truly honoured to be seated only a few feet away from arguably best left hand in the business (the right hand is pretty useful too!) Here’s a review I wrote for the ABRSM forum:

  • Lewis Kelday says:

    We watched our favourite pianist Valentina Lisitsa at Perivale St. Mary’s Church last night, self down from Scotland and friends Marek & Sarah across from Ipswich. We knew what to expect having seen her before at the Wigmore Hall – or did we really ? Valentina always seems to take one’s breath away and the entire recital was utterly stunning. Marek’s face said more than any words as she attacked the Totentanz with the “unspeakable ferocity” that Edward describes. Marek shook his head in disbelief and after the thunder had receded he whispered “that will be a once in a lifetime memory”.

    I could try to find the words to describe what the evening’s performance from this God given gifted pianist was like but I can’t – not after playing like that. In the gaps between her transcendent sojourns one could have heard a pin drop – the audience was spellbound. We were feet away, second front row and the atmosphere Valentina created was electric – an appearance from the Spirit of Liszt himself would not have surprised me. We felt downright privileged. I have watched concert pianists all my life but never one like this. She took us on a journey of musicality conveyed by a pianism that few if any can match and although I tried to tell her after the concert that she’d stunned us all despite our knowing what she was like she just laughed !

    This was a huge, demanding agenda ending with three audience-induced encores any one of which would have been memorable in its own right. I was particularly moved by her rendition of the transcript of Schubert’s Ave Maria which I wasn’t aware had been written. The sentiment, tone and colours in that – indeed in all the pieces – she conveyed on the night had to be experienced first hand to be appreciated.

    If life has its rewards for good behaviour then “I must have done something right !”.

  • I wish I was there. Ms Lisitsa is not only a fine pianist, but leading the way in using social media to reach an audience and create her own brand. This must be the way of the future, with the large record labels focusing much of their efforts on repackaging old recordings.