Can a shy person be a soloist?

Can a shy person be a soloist?


norman lebrecht

September 22, 2019

The Russian-born pianist Ilya Itin does no publicity, has an inaccessible website and tries to be seen as little as possible.

So how does Itin, 52, have such a big career, working with major orchestras and conductors?

He shares some secrets with Zsolt Bognar on Living the Classical Life:

You see him here first.


  • drummerman says:

    I had the pleasure of engaging him as a soloist with my orchestra a number of years ago (Mozart # 27), albeit as a last-minute emergency replacement for the pianist originally scheduled. Our local music critic compared him to Alfred Brendel. I would recommend Mr. Itin highly to any presenter who may be reading this.

  • Cassandra says:

    Mr Itin is obviously a strategic genius.

    How to stand out today?


  • X..Y.. says:

    Thanks for alerting us to this magic musician. More here, wonderful:

    His is a very noble attitude to PR. But if somebody wants to present really contemporary work perhaps some PR is indispensable…

  • Piano Fan says:

    For all the pianists who have web presence but very little in the way of a “real” career, it makes sense there would be a few who have engagements without leaning on the web. Musicians have done it for centuries.

    And I have noted that many musicians with an “extroverted” stage presence are shy in real life.

  • ira says:

    we’ve been enjoying itin’s excellent musicianship in miami for twenty years or more thanks to miami international piano fetival and its sponsor patrons of exceptional artists

  • Howard Rosen says:

    Ilya has been a regular with the Miami International Piano Festival for many years. He will be performing in Aventura, Florida on March 22, 2020. There are dozens of his performances (and some master classes) here:

  • Dave Shuey says:

    I’ve known Ilya for almost 20 years; we studied with the same teacher in New York, and I had the unique pleasure of being taught by him as well. The stuff he gave me will last the rest of my artistic career

  • Off in Bach says:

    Does he have such a big performing career? Research shows scant evidence of it.