While reading a book, each person will live through the storyline in their own, personal way. This is the same in music.
—Jan Lisiecki, pianist
He's only 18 and he's already been described by the New York Times as "a pianist who makes every note count."
Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki is appearing with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra for their season opener on September 11. He'll perform Canadian composer Michael Oesterle's arrangement of Grieg's A minor piano concerto.
It will be Lisiecki's 60th engagement this year. He has been gracing stages around the world, including Poland, across Europe, in Japan and China, and here in Canada.
You'd think someone like Lisiecki would spend all his waking hours at the piano. But he says that books are also a very important part of his life:
Othello by William Shakespeare (from 1630 publication)
Up until April 2013, I was enrolled in English as part of my Bachelor of Music studies. I had a fantastic teacher who I enjoyed working with tremendously. As part of this course, I read, among others, Shakespeare's Othello
, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Fast-forward to August, when I was performing at the Stratford Summer Music Festival. While I was there I took advantage of the wonderful and well-known theatre festival. I managed to see many productions, including Othello
, which allowed me to experience the play in person.
Books provide insight into history, places, or events that one is not always aware of. For instance, I have read numerous books about North Korea. I find it fascinating that life can be so different depending on where you are born.
The events described in these novels read entirely like fiction, while they are in fact true. Beyond the well-known ones, Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy
and Blaine Harden's Escape from Camp 14
, there are also some lesser-known and insightful choices.
"Only Beautiful, Please" by John Everard (Asia-Pacific Research Network)
The most recent one I have read is called Only Beautiful, Please
and was written by the former British Ambassador to North Korea, John Everard.
I find there is a fascinating parallel between books and music. While reading a book, each person will live through the storyline in their own, personal way. This is the same in music. Everybody will hear the music and imagine their own tale to go along with it.
Music and literature are two art forms that allow the audience the liberty of participating in the art.Hear Jan Lisiecki perform with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra under direction of Anne Manson on September 11, 7:30 p.m. at Westminster United Church on Maryland.