Piano Louis Lortie


French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has attracted critical acclaim throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. At a time when pianists are increasingly expected to specialise, Lortie has been praised for an exploration of his own voice across a broad spectrum of the repertoire. This voice has been described by The Times as the “combination of total spontaneity and meditated ripeness that only great pianists have” from an “ever immaculate, ever imaginative” pianist.

His close identification with the works of Beethoven has been consolidated with complete sonata cycles at London´s Wigmore Hall, Toronto´s Ford Center, Berlin´s Philharmonie, and the Sala Grande del Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. Die Welt described his Berlin performances “possibly the finest Beethoven since the times of Wilhelm Kempff.” In his native Montreal, as both pianist and conductor, he has performed all five Beethoven piano concertos - and, in 200X, the complete Mozart piano concertos - with the city´s symphony orchestra.

Among his forthcoming US engagements are dates with the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, while future highlights in Europe include performances with: the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Dresden Philharmonic - all conducted by Kurt Masur; the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit; the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Heinz Holliger; the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on a Spanish tour under Thierry Fischer, who will also conduct Lortie with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; the Ulster Orchestra and Kenneth Montgomery; the Beethoven Bonn Orchestra; the Bournemouth Symphony with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic with Yutaka Sado. Directing from the piano he will perform with the Sinfonia Cracovia at the 14th Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, the Quebec Symphony and Slovenian Philharmonic.
His recital schedule features the Vienna Konzerthaus, London´s Queen Elizabeth Hall (International Piano Series and International Chamber Music Season), Aldeburgh Festival, Milan Serate Musicali, 14th Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, Festival Pianistico Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli di Brescia e Bergamo, Valencia and Bilbao.

In 2008, Lortie was invited by China´s National Center for the Performing Arts to participate in the Beijing Centenary Piano Extravaganza, an event directly linked to the 2008 Olympic Games, performing with nine other pianists and the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in a new work commissioned from Chinese composer Cui Shi Guan.

Louis Lortie has made over 30 recordings for the Chandos label, covering repertoire from Mozart to Stravinsky. His Edison Award-winning recording of Beethoven´s Eroica Variations was described by Gramophone as “spacious and magisterial, virile yet sensitive,” while his disc of Schumann (including Bunte Blätter) and Brahms was judged one of the BBC Music Magazine´s best CDs of the year; the magazine also named his Chopin Etudes one of “50 Recordings by Superlative Pianists” and his interpretation of Liszt´s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague was a Gramophone Editor´s Choice. Other titles include ‘To the Distant Beloved’ (works by Beethoven, Schumann and Liszt), and Franck´s Symphonic Variations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. May 2010 brings Chandos releases of the first volume of a new Chopin series, while Years 1 and 3 of Liszt´s Années de Pèlerinage and a disc of the composer´s transcriptions are planned for 2011. For the Canadian label ATMA Classique Lortie has recorded Mendelssohn concertos with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec and, on the conductor´s podium, the same composer´s ‘Reformation’ Symphony.

Louis Lortie studied in Montréal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the legendary Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with the Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber, and subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher. He made his debut with the Montréal Symphony at the age of thirteen, while three years later his first appearance with the Toronto Symphony led to an historic tour of the People´s Republic of China and Japan. In 1984, he won First Prize in the Busoni Competition and was also prizewinner at the Leeds Competition. In 1992 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and received both the Order of Quebec and an honorary doctorate from Laval University. Lortie has lived in Berlin since 1997 but also keeps a home in Canada.