Pianist Valentina Lisitsa opens Mendelssohn season Sept. 30

Valentina Lisitsa performs at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, at Court Street United Methodist Church. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center launches its 2011-2012 concert season with Valentina Lisitsa, piano, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, at Court Street United Methodist Church.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students. Groups of 10 or more adults receive $5 off per ticket.

With her multi-faceted playing described as “dazzling,” Lisitsa is at ease in a vast repertoire ranging from Bach and Mozart to Shostakovich and Bernstein. Her orchestral repertoire alone includes more than 40 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.

In May 2010, Lisitsa performed the Dutch premiere of Rachmaninoff’s “New 5th” Concerto in her debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and in August, she made her debut with the Orchestra Sinfonica Brasileira under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel.

Previous highlights include debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Seattle Symphony, WDR Cologne, Seoul Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony, collaborating with conductors Manfred Honeck, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, among others.

Her 2011-2012 season features debut performances with the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony and recitals at Ravinia, Teatro de Colon in Buenos Aires and the Casals Festival, in addition to her performance with the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt, Lisitsa will be playing Liszt compositions during the second half of her concert.

Lisitsa has recorded three independently-released DVDs, including her best-selling set of Chopin’s 24 Etudes, which long held the coveted No. 1 spot on the Amazon music video list. A champion in the use of new media, Lisitsa pushes traditional boundaries to reach audiences around the globe. With more than 28 million YouTube channel views, Lisitsa is one of the most sought-after classical musicians on the web.

Last summer, thousands of music fans worldwide witnessed the live broadcast of Lisitsa’s practice sessions, allowing her to show a different aspect of her artistic persona. For two weeks, world audiences watched Lisitsa learn — and prepare to the utmost detail — almost four hours of new music in daily 14 hour-long sessions.

Similar initiatives followed for the recording sessions of her upcoming CDs, receiving the enthusiastic approval and support from fans around the world.

Lisitsa has recently completed recordings of the complete concerti of Rachmaninoff and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Michael Francis.

Since 1884, Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center has been a source of musical leadership and excellence for the residents of northern Illinois. A not-for-profit organization, the center serves the community with a range of music programming, youth programs and educational outreach opportunities.

To purchase concert tickets or for more details, call Mendelssohn at (815) 964-9713 or visit www.mendelssohnpac.org. For more about Lisitsa, visit www.valentinalisitsa.com.

From the Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2011, issue

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