For those who may not know, Lisiecki is a 17-year-old Toronto pianist who burst upon the scene a couple of years ago. Even though he’s still studying (at the RCM), he’s already a full-blown concert pianist with an international career. Last month he made his New York Philharmonic debut – and he has upcoming engagements in Rotterdam, Tokyo, Berlin, Athens, and several Canadian cities.
CE: How many hours did you spend recording your new CD?
JL: I’m not quite sure, but it was probably about 10 hours. But I know I did exactly 343 takes.
CE: Will you be actively involved in the editing of the disc?
JL: Yes, of course. There won’t be a lot of editing, however, because I like recording things in full takes, and I think I have some great full takes. So the editing will be done on a small scale.
CE: Can you describe the disc, as it will appear?
JL: That’s hard to do, because everyone will hear something different. But the Chopin Études haven’t been recorded many times. I hope to bring out the musical qualities of these pieces, not just the technical qualities. Of course, they’re very difficult to play – but that’s not what it’s all about.
CE: How often have you played them live?
JL: The Opus 25 was on my recital program last year, and the Opus 10 is on my program this year. On March 3, I’ll play them all, here at Koerner Hall.
CE: Is your interest in Chopin connected with your own Polish heritage?
JL: Not necessarily. People often ask me if my Polish heritage helps me play Chopin. It helps that I know the language and the culture, but it’s not the driving force. I just love the music.
CE: For the last couple of years, you’ve been living the life of an international concert-pianist. How are you adapting to the demands?
JL: I love it! Every day brings something different.
CE: And what upcoming engagements are you especially looking forward to?
JL: I’m looking forward to a tour with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his Rotterdam orchestra in Japan. And I’m looking forward to my BBC Proms debut. Off the top of my head, those are two that stand out.
CE: What other recordings do you have planned?
JL: This was my first solo recording, and I enjoyed it. But I think I would like to go back to recording with an orchestra. It’s closer to a live experience. You have less time with an orchestra – and there will always be something that goes wrong, because you have so many musicians on stage.
CE: How do you feel today, having done four days of solo recording?
JL: I'm tired – but at this point I’m satisfied. We’ll see how I feel after I listen to the recordings!
© Colin Eatock 2013