His 2021/22 Poems of the Night tour schedule speaks for itself with dates in Munich, San Francisco, Paris and… Saskatoon. As Sesame Street so often put it, “One of these things is not like the other” and yet, for Lisiecki, it’s exactly as it should be. At 26, Lisiecki is one of the most celebrated classical pianists of the 21st Century and even with all the acclaim, loyalty is what matters most. Lisiecki only has two Canadian stops and one, Saskatoon, is where his professional career took flight in 2010 with the works of Chopin.
“It’s unbelievable coming to a place I had never been before, have no connection with and having the audience galvanized by the concert scene and so excited to be there.”
Lisiecki says his connection with the Saskatoon audience is unmatched. (Christoph Köstlin)
“My first performance in Saskatoon, I dearly remember the excitement of the audience and mine,” Liseicki says. “It’s unbelievable coming to a place I had never been before, have no connection with and having the audience galvanized by the concert scene and so excited to be there. Mark Turner creates that atmosphere.”
Turner, the executive director of the SSO also remembers the 2010 concert fondly. It was the first performance he produced, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship between Lisiecki, Turner and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
“Jan has built a special relationship with the Saskatoon audience,” says Turner. “Anytime we’ve called, whether it’s the full concert hall or playing for students in our northern communities, he’s offered his time and talent. It’s inspiring.”
With Jan Lisiecki In Recital, he comes full circle in Saskatoon with the work of Chopin. Lisiecki will showcase pieces from his 8th album, Chopin: Complete Nocturnes. The work has garnered praise from critics and fans worldwide. The Guardian says it’s, “Chopin playing of the highest class” and the New York Times declared it, “Pristine, lyrical and intelligent”. Lisiecki became enchanted with Chopin as a child and after a year of isolation due to the pandemic, the composer’s work held extra meaning.
“There was something for me to say with this album,” he says. “It reflects on the last year and my thoughts on the escape and understanding that music gives us.”
The album was recorded in Berlin’s Meistersaal and is a quiet, intimate reflection of Chopin’s most beautiful works. Lisiecki had the hall to himself and says it brought a fresh appreciation to his relationship with music.
“I felt completely at ease and free from pressure. These were the most pleasurable and relaxed recording sessions I’ve known; they were perfect for the Nocturnes.” He explains, “I could spend time with each piece at my own pace and live with them all in a way that felt completely natural and organic.”
Lisiecki says he’s excited to perform Chopin’s Nocturnes as well as the Op. 10 Etudes with his audience.
“I really enjoy coming back to Saskatoon because it’s a thrill to perform for audiences that appreciate you being there,” he says. “You’re already starting on the right foot because you have this enthusiasm, even before you begin to play. You can share from this place of joy, a place of excitement what you love doing most.”