YouTube piano sensation makes London debut
LONDON — A pianist who launched her career by posting videos of herself on YouTube translated her online success into reality with a solo performance at one of the world’s most famous music venues on Tuesday.
Ukrainian-born Valentina Lisitsa dazzled a crowd of thousands at London’s Royal Albert Hall, her fingers flying through a two-and-a-half-hour virtuoso performance.
The blonde 42-year-old, known as the Justin Bieber of the classical music world because of her route to fame, had advertised the concert on her YouTube page and website, allowing fans from around the world to pick her programme.
The final selection included two pieces that are among her most-viewed hits on YouTube, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and Rachmaninov’s etude, popularly known as “Little Red Riding Hood”.
While holding the audience spellbound with her playing, she also won over the largely British crowd of some 2,500 by referring to the evening as a special night not because of her performance, but it coincided with England meeting co-hosts Ukraine at the Euro 2012 football tournament.
The concert will be broadcast in full on YouTube at a later date.
Lisitsa, who began playing the piano at the age of three in Kiev, began promoting herself on the video-sharing website five years ago when she posted a video of herself playing the Rachmaninov etude.
Since then, her 180-odd videos have garnered more than 43 million hits and she has been signed by the Decca Classics label owned by Universal.