Valentina Lisitsa: “The Justin Bieber of Classical World”


A number of different authors, such as Ivan Hewett, Vivien Schweitzer, Clyde Smith and Stephanie Yamaguchi, have mentioned and criticized on social media the success that has had the professional career of the pianist Valentina Lisitsa in social networks, specially in Youtube platform.


Valentina Lisitsa, born in Ukraine but now living in America, is officially the web’s favourite classical pianist. Her YouTube site has had 43 million visitors, which is probably a thousand times more listeners than the great virtuosos of the past reached in their entire lifetimes,” explained a classical music critic for Telegraph, Ivan Hewett. “Lisitsa is a serious artist… Her essential attribute is a fevered urgency, an almost desperate desire to suck the expressive marrow from a piece”, he stated.

According to Vivien Schweitzer, a freelance music critic for the New York Times, “She had begun her career as a duo pianist with her husband, Alexei Kuznetsoff.” As she explained, “The couple were initially irritated when people uploaded sections to YouTube, but they decided to upload the entire DVD themselves as a promotion. The tactic worked, and sales increased.” The writer also stated, “She actively engages her fans on social media. Unlike the polite feeds of some other classical artists, Ms. Lisitsa, a self-described “contrarian,” is argumentative and outspoken, tweeting about politics and berating concert promoters who have irked her” (qtd. in The New York Times).

“‘Finally I came up with the crazy decision to just put all 24 tracks on YouTube myself, as I couldn’t keep control of my product anymore. Then a strange thing happened,’ says Ms. Lisitsa: Sales of her DVD shot up on Amazon. She adds, ‘I saw the power of YouTube'” (Clyde Smith, Hipebot).

Clyde Smith, one of contributing writers at Hipebot web page, also stated, “With a growing fanbase, she was able to play the Albert Hall in London and livestreamed the show on YouTube. All this activity led to attention from Decca Classics who agreed to distribute her recording with the London Symphony Orchestra and for whom she now records exclusively.”

Stephanie Yamaguchi, stated, “Before, during, and after her first big YouTube campaign, the piano sensation from Ukraine took time to study business strategy. It helped her understand what she needed to do to bring her music to the masses. Applying this new business knowledge to her musical endeavours proved to be a very smart choice” (qtd. in The Digital Edge).



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