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 Montréal 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. Mr. Lortie has performed the complete works of Ravel in London and Montréal for the BBC and CBC, and is also known for his interpretation of Chopin. Following a recital of Chopin’s complete Etudes in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Financial Times wrote: “Better Chopin playing than this is not to be heard, not anywhere.”
He often performs major contemporary works, recently concentrating on pieces by British composer Thomas Adès.
Also celebrated for his interpretation of works by Beethoven, Mr. 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. In Berlin, Die Welt called his performances “possibly the most beautiful Beethoven since the times of Wilhelm Kempff.” With the Montréal and Québec Symphonies, he performed and conducted all five Beethoven Piano Concertos. In the Beethoven Plus Festival held in Montréal, Mr. Lortie performed Beethoven’s 32 sonatas for piano; plus the complete sonatas and trios for violin and cello. In May 2008, Mr. Lortie concluded his multi-year project to play and conduct all 27 Mozart Piano Concertos (along with other all-orchestral repertoire by various composers). In 2006-2007 he began his multi-concert Wagner/Liszt project at London’s Wigmore Hall, which he also performed in Berlin, Milan, Domaine Forget, the
Weimar Festival, Bordeaux and Warsaw. He also performed his third recital on Carnegie Hall’s Great Artists series.
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, and Osmo Vanska. 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 and Gidon Kremer. His regular piano-duo partner is fellow Canadian Hélène Mercier, with whom he has made successful recordings. Mr. Lortie has made over 30 recordings, ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky.
Born in Montréal, Louis Lortie made his debut with the Montréal Symphony at the age of thirteen and the Toronto Symphony three years later, which as a result engaged him for an 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 Québec and an honorary doctorate from Laval University. Mr. Lortie has lived in Berlin since 1997 and also has a home in Canada.