“To say that Mr. Lifschitz made his playing look easy would not be quite accurate. What he offered was a performance of such poetry that the question of whether executing it was difficult hardly came to mind.”
—Anne Midgette, The New York Times
Konstantin Lifschitz was born in the Soviet Union (Kharkov) in 1976. As a child, he became irresistibly attracted to the piano, playing by ear and improvising—completely absorbed for hours on end. His aptitude for the piano was so remarkable that at age five he was enrolled in the renowned Gnessin Special Middle School of Music in Moscow as a student of Tatiana Zelikman. After graduating, he continued his studies in Russia, England and Italy where his teachers included Alfred Brendel, Leon Fleisher, Theodor Gutmann, Hamish Milne, Charles Rosen, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Vladimir Tropp, Fou T’song and Rosalyn Tureck.
In the early 1990s, the Russian Cultural Foundation awarded him a scholarship which afforded him opportunities to perform in Paris, Amsterdam, the Hague, Vienna, Munich, Milan and other prominent European capitals. The “New Names” program brought Konstantin to the attention of the renowned violinist and conductor, Vladimir Spivakov, who immediately arranged for Konstantin to perform the Mozart Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453, as soloist with the Moscow Virtuosi in Moscow and then followed by a tour of Japan performing the Bach Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052, in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Sapporo. Upon that tour’s completion, he was invited by Maestro Spivakov to Monte Carlo and Antibes for performances of the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, with l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.
In 1989, at the age of thirteen, he presented a landmark recital in the October Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow. The capacity crowd’s overwhelming enthusiasm, along with local critical acclaim, established him as a major artist. In 1994, he gave his graduation recital from the Gnessin School—his program began with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Denon Nippon Columbia recorded the 17-year-old in this deeply felt interpretation of his beloved Bach. The recording, when released in 1996, was nominated for a Grammy Award and moved critic Edward Rothstein of The New York Times to acclaim Lifschitz’s performance “the most powerful pianistic interpretation since Glenn Gould’s.” Just one year before, he had won the German Echo Klassik Award for “European Young Artist of the Year” for his Debut Recording album (Bach French Overture, Schumann Papillons, works of Medtner and Scriabin).
Konstantin has performed in recital and as soloist with orchestra in many of the musical metropoles around the world: Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Milan, Montreal, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Chisinau, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Limassol, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel-Aviv, Tokyo, Perth, Auckland, Seoul, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, Zurich, Gent, Stavanger, Kuhmo, etc.
Among the orchestras and conductors with whom he has performed as soloist are the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the London Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic under Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner, the Moscow Philharmonic under Yuri Simonov, Tokyo Symphony, Sapporo Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the George Enescu Philharmonic under Emil Simon, the Czech Chamber State Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony under Lü Jia, Russian State Orchestra under Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Moscow Symphony, San Paulo Symphony under Michel Tabachnik, Orchestra della RAI under Jeffrey Tate, the New Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Peter Oundjian, I Solisti Veneti under Claudio Scimone, the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra Lisbon, the Florida Philharmonic under James Judd, The New Zealand Symphony under Matthias Bamert, the New Jersey Symphony under Maximiano Valdes, the Danish National Radio Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood, the MDR Symphony Orchestra under Fabio Luisi and Mark Gorenstein, the Beethoven Festival Orchestra Bonn under Peter Gülke, the German State Philharmonic under Georg Mark, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg under Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as well as the Berlin Symphony under Eliahu Inbal, the Minnesota Symphony under Eri Klaas, the EUYO under Bernard Haitink, the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony under Sir Roger Norrington, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Vladimir Verbitsky, the Berlin Radio Orchestra under Marek Janowski and Mikhail Jurowsky, Belgrade Philharmonic under Leonid Grin and Dmitry Liss, the Saarbruecken Radio Orchestra and the Bern Symphony under Andrey Boreyko and the St.Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov.
Konstantin Lifschitz is also a dedicated chamber musician, having performed with such artists as Gidon Kremer, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Maxim Vengerov, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Leila Josefowicz, Misha Maisky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell, Carolin Widmann, Eugene Ugorski, Daishin Kashimoto, Bella Davidovich, Valery Afanassiev, the Talich Quartet, the Szymanowski Quartet, Reto Bieri, Natalia Gutman, Diemut Poppen, Joerg Widmann, Hans-Heinz Schneeberger, Jiri Barta, Sol Gabetta, and others.
He continues to build on his vast repertoire which consists of over 800 works from the solo, orchestral and chamber music genres. He has himself made several transcriptions for piano and has also premiered many works written expressly for him. Konstantin also performs on harpsichord and has worked with the great Czech instrument builder from Prague, Petr Sefl. He is also fluent in at least five languages: Russian, English, French, Italian and German.
Konstantin Lifschitz is now more and more requested to take the role of conductor. He has conducted orchestras such as the Moscow Virtuosi (Moscow), the Lux Aeterna Orchestra and Gabrieli Choir (Budapest), Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra (Moscow), St. Christopher’s Chamber Orchestra (Vilnius), the Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra (Vienna) and I Solisti di Napoli (Naples), among others. His fondness for working with singers has brought him to perform in several series’ around the world, including in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Russia, and the United States.
Konstantin Lifschitz has made several recordings for the Orfeo label including an album of Bach’s Musical Offering, the St. Anne Prelude and Fugue, BWV 552 and Three Frescobaldi Toccatas (released 2007), the Gottfried von Einem Piano Concerto with the Austrian Radio and Television Orchestra of Vienna under Cornelius Meister (2009), the Brahms Concerto No. 2 in D Minor with the Konzerthaus Orchestra of Berlin under Maestro Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (2010), Bach’s The Art of Fugue—the work of music Lifschitz himself considers being closest to in the past few years (released October 2010) and the complete Bach concertos for keyboard and orchestra with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (to be released in November, 2011). In 2008, Video Artists International (VAI ), released his live performance of the complete Bach Well Tempered Clavier, Books I & II, from the Miami International Piano Festival. He has more than 30 albums to his credit, many of which have received very high commendations from the international press.
In 2002 and 2003 Konstantin was named both as an Associate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2008 he was appointed professor of piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Lucerne. He gives master classes around the world as well as taking part in a variety of educational programs. Konstantin has also received several awards and honors for his work in music as well as for charitable causes.
Highlights of the 2010 / 2011 season included tours in Korea, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain and Russia as well as Lucerne, Bucharest, Yerevan, Copenhagen (Tivoli), Vienna (Grand Hall of the Musikverein) and London (Wigmore Hall) solo appearances. In August 2011 he returned to the Rheingau Festival for the continuation of his All Bach Works Series.
In 2011 / 2012 he will tour Europe with the Stuttgart Kammerorchester on the occasion of a new recording release of the complete Bach keyboard concertos and perform solo concerts in Armenia, Italy, Russia, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Denmark and Germany as well as make his conducting debut in Sweden.
Hailed as a genius, a marvel, a phenomenon and a polymath, Konstantin Lifschitz has been described as brilliant, exceptional, extraordinary, impressive, intense, passionate, remarkable, revelatory, spiritual and unforgettable.
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