Calgary Concert Pianist Jan Lisiecki on Playing Instruments Around the World

Since making his orchestral debut as a piano prodigy at age nine, the Calgarian has taken centre stage everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall.

Photograph by Deutsche Grammophon

Jan Lisiecki has experienced a lifetime’s worth of milestones, all before the age of 25. Since making his orchestral debut as a piano prodigy at age nine, the Calgarian has taken centre stage everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall. Regardless of where he plays, Lisiecki says getting into the zone requires more than just shaking off jet lag and knowing the notes.

“As a pianist, you don’t travel with your own instrument. You play on the piano that’s provided. So you have this additional aspect of adjusting to the new place, a different audience, a different culture, but also a different piano. And pianos are not like cars — they’re a handmade device. Each one has a different feel and sound to it. You’re always trying to make friends with a piano. Make it work with you, not against you.”

Lisiecki’s latest live recording, Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos, was released in September, 2019, on Deutsche Grammophon. The full concert video was released in January, 2020 — the year of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

This article appears in the February 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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