Breaking: Youtube's favourite pianist makes a last-minute Paris debut

Breaking: Youtube's favourite pianist makes a last-minute Paris debut


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2011

Valentina Lisitsa has just tweeted me that she’s got a Paris date at last, on the strength of her youtube fame.

It’s at the Bouffes du Nord on Monday, and she’s standing in for Simone Dinnerstein – apparently ‘for healthy reasons’.

The flier also urges you to discover this ‘ukranian native american pianist’

So that will be Chief Many-Fingered Lisitsa?

Previously, says, Val, she has only ever played in private Parisian homes.



  • I believe it, actually. The power of internet media can prove quite special. Good luck, Val! Back in 2009, I received a message via Facebook to replace a pianist quickly for a Tschaikowsky 1st Concerto in Bogota, Colombia–all because of Facebook!

  • Stan says:

    Val is releasing a new all-Chopin cd-dvd combo on November 28 available from Amazon, self-published. It is generously priced at 14.98.
    I hope it will be a big success!

  • Hansjürgen Kohlhaas says:

    ‘for healthy reasons’ must be a healthy health reason…gute Besserung Miss Dinnerstein! and Good luck ‘n joy to you, Miss Lisitsa!

  • I am quite astonished myself – particularly in my new role as a battle flag of many musicians who for various reasons lost hope of ever “making ” it in music business dominated by traditional media, agencies and labels. I get probably dozen e-mails EVERY DAY with stories so familiar to me, people asking advice and simple inspiration …. Exactly 6 years ago ( it was Thanksgiving too ) I was getting ready to quite another sort of performance 🙁 Selling Sunbeam kitchen mixers on eBay , really. I had to make money somehow, being freshly discarded by my big agency . We had a new house , a new baby , no concerts and no money. This exact day I even tried Craigslist , answering an ad of some local retirement home that was hiring a pianist to play Christmas tunes. I got a “no” even there – since I had no demo CD to send to them ! But selling mixers taught me something that no music school did. My “business” was such : we bought mixers at Costco and resold them on eBay. The mixers were very cute I must say:) Costco ,being a giant brick-and-mortar store, priced them low and didn’t bother to ever advertise. It was just another commodity item. We made gorgeous photos , a couple of videos ( see where I am going ) and I was personally “talking” to potential buyers , answering their questions, helping them with gift wraps ….So, the mixers were sold for twice the money of discount store and everybody who bought them was very happy.At that point I asked myself “if I can sell a mixer – and I don’t’ make mixers and don’t know much about mixers – why am I wallowing in my grief over not having concerts ? Why not to try to “sell”my playing instead?” Brick-and-mortar agency didn’t bother to advertise me or to sell me – and I was “discontinued” at their whim. So, we put a first video, Rachmaninoff Op39#6 Etude on Youtube: not exactly a crowd-pleaser and NOT a high quality production ( judge for yourself and the rest was history 🙂 ……..

    • Nigel Carpenter says:

      Thank you so much for sharing how you began your sucess with UTube after selling the mixers. As a retired advertising/direct marketing professional I can appreciate the connection you made – it’s a great story worth selling to a marketing publication in more detail!
      I have followed your career with interest and dedication and always wondered why you were not properly represented in the traditional music media. It’s their loss and your gain now that you are bringing so much pleasure to those like myself who follow you on You Tube.
      At last – the Royal Albert Hall June 19 2012 – I have booked the best seats in the house I could get.!
      You asked earlier for repertoire suggestions : play to your strengths I humbly suggest – Liszt and Rachmaninov and Beethoven. The Rachmaninov sonata would be a special treat – I disliked it all my life until I heard your stunning rendition on You Tube. The same with your Hammerklavier and I heard Richter play it back in the 60’s. But rest assured anything you play will be fine by me and no doubt the RAH will be sold out if they get the marketing right.

    • Jun Hirakawa says:


      I read your story about the mixers. It wrung my heart deeply. First I tried to find reason why you hadn’t released CDs although you seemed an incomparable pianist and thought that you might dislike someone else to edit your performance. But it was not such a simple reason I understood. Please believe me that I’m totally enthralled by your music. You are definitely a history making pianist. Nobody can play like you. I don’t know how to express my touching when I listen to your music. Please keep playing a piano and always remember that there exist a person like me who find every happiness from listenting to your music and take heart to live on.

      Thank you.

  • Simnos says:

    Awesome! Another DVD, hopefully I can actually buy this one – the etude one was out of stock.

  • Kundry's Therapist says:

    I suspect the fact that Lisitsa and Dinnerstein share the same manager probably helped a little here…

  • Ziggy says:

    Well, there’s virtually nothing available via – not even the tempting Beethoven – Schumann – Thalberg – Liszt, on Naxos. Looks like I shall have to wait until June next year, at the RAH!

    • It almost feels as if I’m going to tell a secret here, since apparently many people don’t seem to be aware of the fact that Valentina’s marvellous Beethoven–Schumann–Thalberg–Liszt recital is right out there and available on Spotify. Here’s the link:
      So, if you have the opportunity to get and use Spotify in your country, you’ll know what you can do now. 🙂
      Kind Regards,
      Pieter de Rooij

      • Stan says:

        I don’t have Spotify.
        Is this an MP3 download or purchase of a disc?
        Since the deal was broken between Val and Naxos,
        how can this be the “Naxos” disc?
        I’m confused.


  • Rod Waldes says:

    RAH 🙂
    Amazon.COM will ship the limited edition Chopin cd/dvd to uk 🙂

  • Fred says:

    J’espère que vous repasserez sur Paris prochainement.

  • Stan says:

    How was Valentina’s Paris recital received?
    I have not been able to find a review on the internet.

    Does anyone know?