Valentina Lisitsa is one of a growing number of artists whose career has been boosted by concert postings on YouTube. After initial success, much of it in performances of duo-piano repertory with her husband Alexei Kuznetsoff, Lisitsa found her career stagnating by the early years of the new century. But following her cyber postings, she has made numerous high-profile concert appearances (many with violinist Hilary Hahn), recorded several highly successful CDs and DVDs, and appeared on a PBS special, Valentina in Miami, and on the CBS television program Sunday Morning. Lisitsa plays a vast range of repertory, from Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt to Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and contemporary composers. Her duo repertory is nearly as broad, but includes heavy portions of Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. Lisitsa has recorded for Naxos, Audiofon, and on her on label Valal Productions.
Valentina Lisitsa was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1973. She began piano lessons at three and gave her debut recital at four. Her first advanced studies were at the Kiev-based Lysenko School of Music. She later studied piano at the Kiev Conservatory under Ludmilla Tsvierko.
Lisitsa met her future husband there and soon the two began appearing in duo piano concerts. In 1991 they won the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, FL. That same year they relocated to the U.S., eventually settling in North Carolina.
In 1995 they debuted in New York at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, with conductor Gerard Schwarz. Lisitsa was now in demand, both as a soloist and duo pianist. She soon began making recordings: her debut album, Valentina, was a collection on Audiofon of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and others. She and her husband launched a series of duo recordings on the same label the following year with a CD of works by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich.
By 2005 Lisitsa's concert engagements had slowed to a trickle, but she quickly recaptured name recognition with her numerous YouTube postings, which drew hundreds of thousands of viewings. She also further advanced her career with several concert tours in the U.S. and Europe with Hilary Hahn, beginning in 2007.
Lisitsa's first recording on Naxos, a CD of works by Beethoven, Schumann, Thalberg, and Liszt, was issued in fall 2010. Her 2010-2011 concert schedule included appearances with the West Virgina, Santa Rosa, and North Carolina symphony orchestras, as well as more tours with Hahn.