Pianist Valentina Lisitsa to Appear with American Youth Symphony, 3/9

Pianist Valentina Lisitsa to Appear with American Youth Symphony, 3/9

Ukranian-born piano sensation Valentina Lisitsa - heralded for performances of "unexpected depth" (Baltimore Sun) and one of the world's most watched classical musicians with more than 62 million YouTube views - makes her American Youth Symphony (AYS) debut to perform Rachmaninoff's scintillating Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini at the orchestra's "Springtime in Paris Gala," which includes a free concert on Sunday, March 9, 2013, 6 pm, at UCLA's Royce Hall, followed at 8 pm by an optional fundraising soirée and bistro dinner to benefit AYS. Music Director Alexander Treger, currently in his 16th season leading AYS, also conducts Gershwin's beloved An American in Paris, Adam Schoenberg's Up!, an uplifting fanfare commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and debuted in 2010, and Ravel's brooding but captivating La Valse. The 106-member American Youth Symphony, noted for its innovative programming and inspiring performances, is attending the post-concert gala as well.

Lisitsa is considered the first classical music "YouTube star" to have converted her Internet success into a global concert career in the principal venues of Europe, the USA, South America and Asia. That success, which also includes an exclusive recording contract with Decca, is the direct result of the recognition she received when viewers flocked to the Internet to watch a collection of hundreds of videos of her practicing piano that she posted on YouTube in an effort to jumpstart a once floundering career. Decca and others in the classical music industry took notice of her impassioned playing and extremely large following, which led to the reinvigoration of her career.

"Valentina Lisitsa is a remarkable talent whose playing resonates deeply with both live and YouTube audiences," says Treger. "We are very pleased to present her in her American Youth Symphony debut."

AYS has trained more than 2,300 musicians since it was founded, and many of its alumni hold principal positions with the world's top orchestras, the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, among them. Additionally, AYS's free concert series, which has drawn more than a quarter of a million people to the Royce Hall since its inception, provides vital music outreach to the community.

AYS's 2013/14 season wraps with "The Alumni Project," where AYS musicians share a stand with celebrated alumni to perform Strauss' An Alpine Symphony. This season finale also features gifted young violinist Nigel Armstrong, a finalist in the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Competition and former AYS Concertmaster.

Reservations are recommended but not required for the American Youth Symphony's free concert at Royce Hall, but tickets for the post-concert fundraising gala, which begin at $500 per person, must be reserved in advance. Royce Hall is located on the campus of UCLA at 10745 Dickson Plaza in Westwood, CA, 90095. For more information, please call (310) 470-2332 or log on to

Pianist VALENTINA LISITSA's repertoire ranges from Bach and Mozart to Shostakovich and Bernstein. Her orchestral repertoire alone includes more than forty concerti. She admits to having a special affinity for the music of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and continues to add to her vast repertoire each season. Due to setbacks in her early career days, Lisitsa began to post video recordings of her performances on YouTube in 2007. With more than 62 million YouTube channel views, Lisitsa is one of the most watched classical musicians on the web, using digital innovation to champion classical music and performance. In 2010, Lisitsa and her husband put their life savings to record the Rachmaninoff concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra. Before her debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012, she was signed to Decca Records who released her Rachmaninoff CD. Since capturing world wide attention on the web, Lisitsa has performed in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Musikverein, with such orchestras as the Helsinki Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira. The 2012/13 season saw her debut in Berlin, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and Brisbane, Australia. This season, including her performance with the American Youth Symphony, Lisitsa appears around the world including the Tivoli Festival in Denmark, Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, the Rheingau Musik Festival in Germany, and opening night for the N2Y 2013/14 season in New York City. Previously, Lisitsa recorded three independently released DVDs including her best-selling set of Chopin's 24 Etudes. Her recording of the four sonatas for violin and piano by Charles Ives, made with Hillary Hahn, was released in October 2011. Lisitsa was born in Kiev Ukraine and began playing the piano at age three. She gained a place at the Lysenko Music School for Gifted Children and later studied at the Kiev Conservatory under Ludmilla Tsvierko. In 1991 she won the first prize in The Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition together with Alexei Kuznetsoff. She now resides in the USA and records exclusively for Decca Classics.


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