click photo to enlarge Louis Lortie pianist

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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.

Susie McLeod Manager

Jenny Ball

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 Toronto’s Ford Centre, London’s 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 Beethoven’s 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.

Newsletter/Spring 2001:
Louis Lortie clocks up transatlantic miles

Newsletter/Spring 2000:
Record Shelf

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
Lortie finesses Chopin at Proms

Newsletter/Autumn 1999:
Orchestral Touring Highlights

Newsletter/Spring 1999:
Record Shelf

Newsletter/Autumn 1998:
Louis Lortie Beethoven Cycle

Newsletter/Autumn 1998:
BBC Proms 1998

Newsletter/Spring 1998:
Welcoming Louis Lortie

In 2002/3 Lortie’s 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 Madrid’sAuditorio 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 Chopin’s 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), Franck’s 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.

August 2002

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concerto repertoire
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BEETHOVEN Concerto No 1 in C, op 15
Concerto No 2 in B flat, op 19
Triple Concerto, op 56
Concerto No 4 in G, op 58
Concerto No 5 in E flat, op 73 ("Emperor")
BRAHMS Concerto No 1 in D, op 15
Concerto No 2 in B flat, op 83
CHOPIN Concerto No 1 in E , op 11
Concerto No 2 in F, op 21
Krakowiak (Rondo), op 14
Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise, op 22
Allegro de Concert
Variations in B flat on Mozart’s "La ci darm la mano", op 2
Grand Fantasy on Polish Airs, op 13
DEBUSSY Fantaisie
DE FALLA Nights in the Gardens of Spain
FAURE Ballade in F#, op 19
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
GRIEG Concerto in A, op.16
LISZT Concerto No 1 in E flat
Concerto No 2 in A
Concerto No 3
Concerto Pathetique
De Profundis
Fantasy on Themes from Berlioz’ "Lelio"
Fantasy on Themes from Beethoven’s "Ruins of Athens"
Concerto No 2
Serenade and Allegro
Capriccio Brillante
Rondo Brillante
Concerto in A for piano and strings
MESSIAEN Oiseaux Exotiques
MOZART Concerto No 7 in F for 3 pianos, K242
Concerto No 10 in E flat for 2 pianos, K365
Concerto No 12 in A, K414
Concerto No 13 in C, K415
Concerto No 14 in E flat, K449
Concerto No 20 in D, K466
Concerto No 21 in C, K467
Concerto No 23 in A, K488
Concerto No 24 in C, K491
Concerto No 25 in C, K503
PROKOFIEV Concerto No 3 in C, op 26
RACHMANINOV Concerto No 2 in C, op 18
Concerto No 4 in G, op 40
RAVEL Concerto in G
Concerto in D (left hand)
SAINT-SAENS Concerto No 2 in G, op 22
SCHUMANN Concerto in A, op 54
Konzertstück, op 86
Introduction and Allegro de Concert, op 134
Introduction and Allegro Appassionato, op 92
TCHAIKOVSKY Concerto No 1 in B flat, op 23
Concerto No 2 in G, op 44
Concerto No 3 in E flat, op 75/79
Concerto Fantasy in G, op 56

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Recital programme suggestions

(availability dependent on date of concert)

I BEETHOVEN complete sonatas, cycle in 7 programmes

Already performed by Lortie 1998/9 at Wigmore Hall, London, and scheduled for 1998-2000 for Serate Musicale in Milan, and North York Hall, Toronto, and 1999/2000 at Philharmonie, Berlin.

II CHOPIN for anniversary year 1999 and beyond, 2 programme choices:

a) the complete 27 Etudes, (op.10, op.25 & 3 nouvelles etudes)

b) "Chopin the salon composer"
Impromptu in A flat op.29; Waltz in A flat op.42
Waltz in G flat op.70 no.1; Waltz in D flat op.70 no.3; Impromptu in G flat op.51; Fantasie-impromptu in C sharp minor op.66
Waltz in A minor op.34 no.2; Waltz in E minor op. Posth; Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise op.22
Allegro de Concert op.46; Adagio in E from op.11 Concerto; Fantasy on Polish Airs (arr Lortie)

III BACH and his influence 19th-20th centuries - for anniversary year 2000 and beyond

BACH/arr BUSONI 2 chorales, including "Nun komm der heiden Heiland"
BACH/arr BRAHMS Chaconne for the left hand
MENDELSSOHN Variations sérieuses
LISZT Variations on Bach’s "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen"
WAGNER/arr LISZT Excerpts from "Parsifal"
(including Wagner’s version of Bach’s Good Friday chorale, also quoted by Mendelssohn)
KURTAG Jatakok ("Games")
(Kurtag’s fantasy on Bach chorales)


BEETHOVEN a sonata
SCHUBERT Wandererfantasie

V Hungarian programme – 19th-20th centuries

– to include LISZT, BARTOK, KURTAG, LIGETI – from 2000/1

Brahms/Schumann series

Programme 1 - Solo recital

Clara Schumann: Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann op. 20
Johannes Brahms: Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann. op.9
Robert Schumann: Bunte Blätter, op.99 (complete)

Programme 2 - recital with cellist Jan Vogler - Complete works for cello and piano by both composers

Brahms: Sonata nr. 1 in e minor op.38
Schumann: Fantasiestucke
Adagio and Allegro, op.70
Schumann: Funf Stucke im Volkston,op.103
Brahms: Sonata nr. 2 in F major, op.99

Programme 3 – with 2nd pianist and voices (soloists tbd)

Schumann: Spanisches Liederspiel, op.74
Schumann:Spanisches Liebes-Lieder op.138
Brahms: Liebeslieder Walzer

Programme 4 - with the Takacs Quartet

Schumann: Piano quintet,op.44
Brahms: Piano quintet, op.34

Programme 5 ( could eventually be added) - with violinist tba

Schumann:movement from the so-called F.A.E. sonata
Brahms: movement from the so-called F.A. E. sonata
Brahms: Sonata nr. 1 in G major, op.78
Schumann: Sonata in a minor, op.105
Brahms: Sonata in d minor, op.108

Programme 6 (could eventually be added) – with 2nd pianist Helene Mercier

Schumann:Canonic etudes for four-hands
Andante and variations, op.46
Brahms: a selection of hungarian dances for four-hands
Brahms: variations on a theme by Schumann
Brahms: variations on a theme by Haydn, op. 56b

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"What an admirable musician, a throughbred virtuoso like Horowitz; with a keen fluency of touch, and like a Lipatti in the luminous radiance of his playing!… Lortie, attentive to detail and yet retaining the melodic line, performed a poetic miracle."
Rachmaninov 2, Orchestre National de Lyon/Krivine

"Lortie shone with an individual interpretation of great maturity, flawless facility and with an enormous range of pianistic colouring."
Beethoven 4, Czech Philharmonic/Bad Kissingen Festival

One really had to go back to some of the legendary pianists of the 1940’s and 50’s to put Louis Lortie in context. Lortie’s playing of Rachmaninov’s still loveable second piano concerto belongs in a class with the Romantic accomplishments of the icons of those earlier times.
Rachmaninov 2, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Lortie’s playing was precise and energised, with no wasted energy or superficial gestures. The music-making was utterly refined and compelling.
Mozart/Houston Symphony/Bamert

Lortie gave such a powerful and gripping performance of the piano concerto, that one wonders why it appears so infrequently in concert programmes…Crystal-clear, with impetuous spontaneity but also a dreamy poetry and… French sensual charm..
Debussy Fantaisie, Stuttgart Radio Symphony/Holliger

As a pianist, Lortie is both a compelling player and a purposeful thinker….This was playing of a quite exceptional order.
Chopin/BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Otaka, BBC Proms

Big success for the Canadian soloist, who was very inspired in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Lortie’s playing has presence and authority, and that natural rubato which is the essence of jazz.
Gershwin/Strasbourg Philharmonic/Colomer

Lortie’s playing is shaping into one of the finest and most individual accounts of these perennially fascinating pieces. He is evidently a major Beethovenian and one to be reckoned with.
Wigmore Hall (London), Beethoven cycle (Classic CD)

His opening recital at the Wigmore last Friday put him straight up there among the Gods.
Wigmore Hall (London), Beethoven cycle (Independent)

Lortie’s playing of Chopin has that unfathomable poetic quality which is a hallmark of exceptional artistry.
Chopin recital, Daily Telegraph

For sheer intelligence, subtlety and technical command he has few peers; for the unique demands of bravura, delicate colouring and seriousness which the music of Chopin places on the pianist I think he now has none…
Chopin recital, Daily Telegraph

In terms of sheer colour, Lortie’s playing of the Etudes harks back to the golden days of Cortot at his peak, surpassing Ashkenazy, Pollini, Perlemuter, even Backhaus… This is an A1 class act which can hold its own against all comers.
Chopin Etudes/Chandos (BBC Music Magazine)

"(They) gave us such a well-rounded and mature interpretation, that the public was gripped from start to finish…Astounding freedom.. passionate, almost wild vitality..and rhapsodic story-telling…The unanimity of expression and dynamic subtleties was noteworthy, and found its highpoint in the Brahms sonata… Perfection is too weak an expression for the magic in their playing."
Dresdener Festspiele, recital with cellist duo partner Jan Vogler

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