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Interview with … Jan Lisiecki

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Jan Lisiecki is, at just 23 years old, one of the most interesting pianists in the current music scene. His virtuosity, his delicacy and his musical maturity are impressive, both on stage and on record, and especially in Chopin. As he is about to release a new album dedicated to Mendelssohn on Deutsche Grammophon, Jan Lisiecki answered our questions.

Photos : Christoph Koestlin / DG

Can you tell us about what decided you to study the piano and about your debut ?

I started playing the piano at the age of five, as a pre-schooler. It was a regular start, only because it was suggested to my parents by school teacher – none of us took it seriously. Music gradually became a greater part of my life, I certainly enjoyed it and was rather good at it.

Is it difficult to find the right balance between life on tour and regular piano playing?

The balance sort of finds itself, as I love doing many other things beyond performing, but I also know full well how much time I need to dedicate to the piano and to practice.

You recorded Chopin’s Piano Concertos in 2010. Has your vision of these masterpieces changed since then ?

Most certainly it has ! My interpretations are fluid, I change them from performance to performance, sometimes consciously, other times subconsciously. This is what makes music live, what makes it real and visceral to the audience.

Do you have any concerts planned in France ?

Yes, the next date will be in July at the Festival de Radio France in Montpellier, and there are plans to be back Paris in the near future as well — I always enjoy visiting France and performing for your audiences.

What are your main projects today ?

On February 1 my latest recording for Deutsche Grammophon will be released, featuring the Mendelssohn Concertos, Variations Sérieuses, and Rondo Capriccioso. I have just finished performing Beethoven’s five piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and will perform this cycle many times in 2020.

Which artists would you like to work with ?

Oh, there are too many to name! I love meeting artists, and not only working with them but spending time and getting to know them better.

Do you love Opera ? Which works or composers do you prefer ?

I have had very little experience with Opera, to be perfectly honest. I have attended some, to be sure, including at the Met, but I am be no means a specialist. I most certainly appreciate the art and look forward to learning more about it in the years to come.

Apart from music, do you have any hobby ?

Countless hobbies – I love reading, writing, films, travels, experiences … Most of all, I love life, so every moment gives me joy.

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