an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Guess who’s stepping in for Martha Argerich tonight … and he’s only 17

She has pulled out on Claudio Abbado in Bologna for a concert and recording of the Beethoven G major concerto.

At 24 hours’ notice, who’s up for it?

This lad.


dg release

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Steve de Mena says:

    English link from DG website:

    I wonder what Argerich’s “personal reasons” are for withdrawing. Seems she cancels a lot of concerts and no one asks why this happens so much.

    • Indeed. Interested in Argerich’s circumstances. Should we be wishing her a speedy recovery or has a rogue piano mafia roughed her up. Also, congratulations to Mr Lisiecki.

    • Dr. Marc Villeger says:

      Bravo Jan! Coincidences like playing the same concerto 5 times in Japan last month, being a recording artist for the same label, and just having flown to Europe especially for a Universal Global Music Conference in Berlin at the time Martha cancelled with 24 h notice will only happen once in a lifetime… every time DG plans it! Go with the flow and let the promote roll!

  2. And may I be the first to say: latest young “star”…pretty face…what can he know of true artistry?…Richter took decades to master this repertoire…triumph of hype…marketing people…cult of youth…no, I’ve never actually heard him…yadda yadda yadda…

    There, hopefully that’ll save us all some time later on.
    Toi toi toi to young Mr Lisiecki!

    • Herbert Pauls says:

      We have known about him in Canada for a few years. Both musically and technically, he is as close to the Kissin/Hofmann class of prodigies as any, and he has a very good foundation, having not spent himself too soon.

  3. David Boxwell says:

    Martha to Jan, clutching him intensely: “Now go out there and be so swell that you’ll make me hate you. And Jan, you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!”

  4. Everything I have heard from this young man stands out from the crowd of talented teenagers around him. Check his Chopin concertos – very impressive.

  5. Jan is extraordinary, not least because his technique is the last thing you will notice about him. He is the most natural and mature young musician I have heard in a long time. What a fabulous opportunity, and the repertoire is perfect for him.

    • Steve de Mena says:

      I imagine ticket holders, and DG (who had planned a recording), are not as enthusiastic about this substitution as you are.

      • You’re certainly right about the ticket holders although some are always prepared for a surprise. I’ve once substituted for Pollini and believe me, I was well aware of the multitude of people I was likely to be disappointing!

  6. richardcarlisle says:

    Jan’s a born star who will be more famous than anyone blessing a keyboard in the next few years if he keeps up his current pace… just check his Chopin’s First– a tough one to breath life into compared to the Second.

  7. I think we need to realise that Martha is getting on in years and has also had major issues with cancer. I wonder she still plays!

  8. Seventeen sounds like a very young age — but Jan Lisiecki is ready for a shot at the big-time.

  9. Michael Warmington says:

    I’m the lucky holder of two tickets to a concert he is doing with Victoria Symphony in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. He turns 18 that day. I heard him last July in Edmonton, Alberta and he is following the footsteps of other sensational Canadian keyboardists – Glen Gould, John Kamura Parker and Anton Kuerti. Wow them tonight Jan!

    • Thomas P says:

      add Angela Hewitt, Marc-Andre Hamelin, David Jalbert……….

    • With respect, may I correct a spelling? It’s Jon Kimura Parker. Not that I mind being mentioned in such august company :-)

      • Michael Warmington says:

        Jon: I can recall going back stage at the Winspear many years ago in Edmonton to obtain your autograph with my Mont Blanc pen. You said you’d love to sign my program but the pen would have to be a Parker. I missed the joke but my wife still howls with laughfter at your quick wit.

  10. itrinkkeinwein says:

    Martha Argerich has never played Beethoven’s G-Major Concerto, a score that presents a personal hurdle for her.

    If any partner had been able to coax and support her through it, with or without the gift to also serve as strong artistic foil, Claudio Abbado was the man.

    That’s why the Bologna concert was planned. The big news story would have been IF IT HAD ACTUALLY HAPPENED. But the odds always lay elsewhere. Hence the JL Plan B.

    It is sad that Martha failed. She will likely go to her grave now without ever having scaled this landmark music. A unique artist, one we must savor.

    • I would like to know where you get your information regarding MA and the Beethoven 4th?
      Is this something she shared with you, or are you interpreting this?
      Are you a personal friend?
      THe choice of words is also bothersome. “FAILED”?
      GIve me a break, please!

      • itrinkkeinwein says:

        Sanda, this is something she has been public about.

        I’m sure she has been playing the thing forwards, backwards, and sideways in preparation, no doubt with all sorts of insight and her customary brilliance.

        I would love to know exactly how far rehearsals got. I’m guessing the withdrawal came right before the first scheduled orchestra session.

        That’s a question Norman could pursue … .

      • The program is changed to Beethoven G major concerto. Argerich was supposed to play Mozart concertos. I do not where his comments come from.

        • itrinkkeinwein says:

          @Yuan: Yes, that makes more sense! Martha will play Mozart concertos with Orchestra Mozart in Lucerne tomorrow and on Monday. I should have written: “That must have been why the Bologna was concert planned.” Because I did not know what the original program was.

      • MA talks about it in the documentary “Evening Talks”. It’s the first thing she discusses – that at hearing at the age of 6 was her first “experience” with music and she’s afraid to touch it.

  11. richardcarlisle says:

    The concerto is quite controversial with its meandering lack of compositional direction, never coming together with a sense of purpose and I for one suspect it was left in the concerto lineup by the composer partly to make the fifth seem even better in contrast.

    Any performer leaving it off repertoire is doing all concerned a favor except for the rare program planner who unjustifiably thinks it must be a work of merit simply because of the composer’s reputation.

    Welcoming diverse opinions so I might manage a reassessment after countless exposures to this questionable concerto…

  12. itrinkkeinwein says:

    Yes, that makes more sense! Martha will play Mozart concertos with Orchestra Mozart in Lucerne tomorrow and on Monday.

    I should have written: “That’s why the Bologna concert *must have been* planned.” Because I did not know what the original program was.

    Be aware, though, that if and when Argerich ever does attempt the G-Major, it will happen probably with Abbado, probably in Italy, and probably on less than two months’ notice.

an ArtsJournal blog