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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 French pianist Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with the Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber, and subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher, among others.
Lortie has performed the complete works of Ravel in London and Montreal for the BBC and CBC, and is also known for his interpretation of Chopin. He often performs major contemporary works, recently concentrating on pieces by British composer Thomas Adès.
Also celebrated for his interpretation of works by Beethoven, Lortie has performed the complete Beethoven sonatas in London’s Wigmore Hall, Toronto’s Ford Center, Berlin Philharmonie, and the Sala Grande del Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. With the Montreal Symphony and Quebec Symphony, he performed and conducted all five Beethoven Piano Concertos. In the Beethoven Plus Festival, Lortie performed Beethoven’s 32 sonatas for piano, plus the complete sonatas and trios with violin and cello. He opened the Bonn Beethoven Festival in 2003 playing Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with Kurt Masur conducting, and since then has established a particularly fruitful partnership with Masur. They performed together with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the LPO at Royal Festival Hall, and in Paris and Vienna’s Musikverein with the Orchestre National de France. Future plans include concerts together with the Chicago Symphony, the Dresden Staatskapelle, and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome.
In May 2008 Lortie concluded his multi-year project with the Montreal Symphony to play and conduct all 27 Mozart Piano Concertos. Last season he performed a multi-concert Wagner/Liszt project at London’s Wigmore Hall, which he also performed in Berlin, Milan, Domain Forget, Bordeaux, Warsaw, and at the Weimar Festival. He regularly plays and conducts programs for the Vancouver Symphony, the Quebec Symphony, and the Hamburg Symphony.
Notable concerts last season included the Saint Louis Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra in Cleveland and on tour, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, a European tour with the BBC Wales, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Dresden Festival, the NACO, and many important recitals, including the complete Chopin Etudes at the Kennedy Center, in Weimar, London, Milan, and for the Cliburn Foundation. Future concerts include the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the RAI Torino, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Santa Cecilia in Rome, and recitals at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, UC Berkeley, Duke University, Toronto, the Gilmore Festival, and Atlanta’s Spivey Hall.
Louis Lortie has performed under the baton of conductors Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Sanderling, Neeme Jarvi, Sir Andrew Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Mark Elder, and Osmo Vänskä, among others. He has also been involved in many chamber music projects with musicians such as Frank Peter Zimmermann, Leonidas Kavakos, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Jan Vogler, Augustin Dumay, the Takács Quartet, and Gidon Kremer. His regular piano-duo partner is fellow Canadian Hélène Mercier, with whom he has made successful recordings on the Chandos label.
Lortie has made over 30 recordings on the Chandos label, ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky. His recording of Beethoven’s Eroica Variations won the Edison Award, and his disc of Schumann’s Bunte Blätter and other works by Schumann and Brahms was named one of the best CDs of the year by BBC Music Magazine. He has recorded Ravel’s complete works for piano and has almost completed recordings of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas. His recording of the complete Chopin Etudes, Op. 10 and 25, has been cited by BBC Music Magazine’s special piano Issue as one of “50 Recordings by Superlative Pianists.” Lortie’s most recent CD release is the final recording in his three-CD series of Liszt’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague. It was immediately named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone. In addition to the current Liszt recordings, other recent releases include To the Distant Beloved, with works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Liszt, and Franck’s Symphonic Variations with the BBC Symphony.
Born in Montreal, Louis Lortie made his debut with the Montreal Symphony at the age of thirteen and with the Toronto Symphony three years later, which resulted in his engagement for a 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. In 1992 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and received both the Order of Quebec and an honorary doctorate from Laval University. As his schedule permits, he teaches at Italy’s renowned piano institute at Imola. Louis Lortie has lived in Berlin since 1997 and also has a home in Canada.