V ALENTINA Lisitsa is a sensational pianist and YouTube phenomenon and she will be making her Spanish debut at the Auditorium in Palma on May 30.
Her videos have received more than 56 million hits on the Internet and the number of subscribers to her YouTube channel are approaching the 90'000 mark. The Ukrainian is considered as the first “YouTube Star” of classical music.

Her piano recital at the Auditorium will consist of three sections each following an individual motto: Passion, Love and a furious finale: Fireworks. She will play 6 Preludes by Sergei Rachmaninov, Beethoven's legendary Sonata Op 57 Appassionata and 8 Nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin as well as Franz Liszt's Rhapsodie Espagnole and the Totentanz, amongst others.

Lisitsa has just released the complete piano concertos by Rachmaninov on her exclusive label DECCA and she appears at concert performances throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East.

After her concert here in Palma, she flies to Brisbane before heading to Peru and Ecuador. “I am constantly on tour,” she told the Bulletin from Paris which is her current base, although she admits that she spends most of her time in airports. “It's strange, I am much more famous in the West than I am in my own country of the East in general, hence why for the moment, Paris is my base and where I practice.” Lisitsa's brilliant career did not come to her as a matter of course.
Demanding
She was trained in the strict and very demanding tradition of the Russian School in her hometown Kiev.
She is a very talented young lady and for a while Valentina even dreamed of one day becoming a professional chess player.
She moved to the USA at the beginning of the 1990s.
Lisitsa won several prestigious competitions which were followed by her first concert engagements. Yet despite her success, her career as a pianist did not seem ready to take off.

Then in 2007 she placed her first video of a piano performance on the Internet and it was not long before she was counting the mounting number of clicks on the site, forming the foundation stone of a career without comparison. “I started playing the piano when I was three and it was something I really enjoyed. I was not particularly interested in any other instrument and I was a really bad singer, still am - the only place you'll catch me singing is in the shower,” she jokes. “And, as you can see, my music developed very well but I was not getting heard. I was even composing my own music, playing original music and that is why, with YouTube in its infancy back then decided to give it a go and post a concert on the Internet and it not only went viral but I finally caught the eyes and ears of the big record labels and concert promoters,” she said. “I also have a deal with Google. I think what I have also done is demonstrated that if musicians, what their genre, embrace the Internet and the new social networks it can work in their favour.

Part of life “I know many are always complaining about illegal downloads and piracy but that's now part of life, we've all got to deal and live with it so embrace it is what I say and make it work in your favour. “Look at the number of musicians whose careers have been launched on YouTube, the big record labels have lost a great deal of power because they have proper competition and that is the general public. The public can now decide who they want to listen to and when, it's no longer up to the record labels,” she said. And what also makes her attractive to the global social media audience and concert goers is that her performances are rarely run-of-the-mill.

She often interacts with her audience, speaking about the works she is to play and sometimes even encouraging the audience to vote for the works that will make up the programme.

For this special guest concert she has again come up with a novel idea: the programme consists of three parts, equivalent to the three acts of an opera or play, each with its own theme: passion, love and the rousing finale, fireworks. “I am not a conservative classical music performer I want people to enjoy my concerts. I consider my concerts to be a spiritual experience, I want to reach out and touch people, let them relax and daydream and it does not matter whether they know the music or not”, Lisitsa explained.

For example, the “Passion” section includes the piano preludes by Sergei Rachmaninov, who plays an important role in Lisitsa's artistic life, since she has just released a CD of all of the piano concertos by the Russian composer and pianist on her exclusive label DECCA.

Chopin
Then there is the extrovert and highly virtuosic Piano Sonata No. 23 by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The second part of the programme is dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, the composer whose great personal love story reached its first dramatic climax here in Majorca.

Lisitsa has chosen a selection of his Nocturnes that she interprets at turns with longing devotion and with playful flattery. In the final section, fireworks, Lisitsa plays works by the most influential piano virtuoso of all time, Franz Liszt.

These works demand the total virtuosic skills of the performer as brilliant cascades of sound entice the audience into a swirling, colourful world of musically dramatic narrative. “People don't realise that today, music is such an important part of our lives. “We're surrounded by it all the time, be it when we're out shopping, travelling or listening to our headphones as we go about are daily business. “I love it when I see all these young people listening to their headphones. “I don't care if they're listening to classical music or not, but at least they're listening to music and that's an introduction and via the Internet, I know more and more young people are listening to classical music because, until recently, they've not had the access to so many different styles and genres of music,” she said.

Listsa has never been to Majorca before and she is very excited about performing at the Auditorium because her concert career has now taken on an international dimension, and she is being managed by one of the world's most prestigious agencies.

Exclusive
Her first release as an exclusive recording artist with renowned major label DECCA was the live recording of her triumphant debut concert at the Royal Albert Hall on June 19, last year before an audience of more than 8000 people.

In preparation of the concert an online vote was held to give the audience the opportunity to vote on the night's programme.
Only one month later the concert was released both on CD and DVD.
Valentina's latest release is the complete recording of the four Rachmaninov piano concertos supplemented by the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. An album comprising works by Franz Liszt is currently in preparation. “I still find it hard to imagine everything that's happened to me and my career since I posted my concerts on YouTube but I'm certainly not complaining and I am really excited about the concert in Palma.” All music lovers on the island should be excited too about this unique opportunity to see and hear Lisitsa make her Spanish debut.