Hailed as "one of perhaps half a dozen pianists who it is worth dropping everything to go and hear" (Daily Telegraph, London), Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has been praised for the fresh perspective and individuality he brings to a deliberately broad spectrum of the keyboard canon. He studied in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the great French pianist, Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with the Beethoven specialist, Dieter Weber, subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher, and was also deeply influenced by the distinguished violinist and chamber music teacher Joseph Gingold.
Born in 1959 in Montreal to a non-musical family, Louis Lortie gave his first public performance at the age of thirteen with the Montreal Symphony. Three years later, he made his debut with the Toronto Symphony, which as a result engaged him for an historic tour of the People's Republic of China and Japan. In 1984 he won First Prize in the Busoni Competition and was a prize-winner at the Leeds Competition. Since then he has performed frequently with leading orchestras and on the most prestigious recital series.
Mr. Lortie likes to arrange his performances and recordings in cycles, often concentrating on the work of a particular composer. He has performed the complete works of Ravel in London and Montreal for the BBC and CBC, and complete Beethoven sonata cycles in Torontos Ford Centre, Londons Wigmore Hall and at the Berlin Philharmonie, where Die Welt called his performances "possibly the most beautiful Beethoven since the times of Wilhelm Kempff". Last season he was the featured artist in a major Beethoven festival with the Montreal Symphony, when he performed and conducted all five Beethoven Piano Concertos, and the Triple Concerto with Pinchas Zukerman, and also conducted Beethovens Symphony no.1. As a complement he played all 32 sonatas for piano, as well as the entire violin/piano, cello/piano, and piano trio repertoire by the same composer with violinist James Ehnes and cellist Jan Vogler. Other highlights of the 2001/2 season included appearances with the London Symphony, BBC Symphony at the Proms and on tour, Dresden Staatskapelle, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 2002/3 Lorties engagements include the orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux, Madrid, the Dutch Radio Symphony, Royal Scottish National, London Mozart Players, RAI Torino, La Scala Milan, RSO Saarbrücken; and in North America he appears with the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, St Louis and Atlanta symphonies. He will play recitals at the South Bank Centre (London), in MadridsAuditorio Nacional, at Rotterdam De Doelen, the Brescia & Bergamo Festival, and records the Mendelssohn cello & piano sonatas with Jan Vogler.
Mr Lortie has worked with many leading conductors, including Alsop, Ashkenazy, Andrew Davis, Dutoit, Elder, Flor, Fruhbeck de Burgos, Graf, Neemi Jaervi, Pehlivanian, Pesek, Kurt Sanderling, Saraste, Sawallisch, Schoenwandt, Slatkin, Vänskä, Wigglesworth, Welser-Möst.
Mr. Lortie has made over 30 recordings on the Chandos label, ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky and including the complete works of Ravel for piano. His recording of Beethoven's Eroica Variations won the Edison Award, and his disc of Schumann's Bunte Blatter and other works by Schumann and Brahms was named one of the best CDs of the year by BBC Music Magazine. His recording of the complete Chopin Etudes, opp 10 and 25, has been cited by BBC Music Magazine's special Piano Issue as one of "50 Recordings by Superlative Pianists", and he is currently recording a disc of Chopins Ballades and Impromptus. His most recent releases: the complete works for piano and orchestra by Liszt with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague/Pehlivanian (vol III due out in February 2002), Francks Symphonic Variations with the BBC Philharmonic/Tortelier; and a recital disc "an die ferne Geliebte" featuring works by Beethoven, Schumann and Liszt, and 6 out of 8 discs from his Beethoven sonata cycle.
When his schedule permits, he teaches at Italy's renowned piano institute at Imola, where the school's philosophy of exposing students to several different schools of piano playing closely matches his own. Mr. Lortie lives in Montreal, Paris and Berlin.
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