"When pianist John Lill takes to the stage you are instantly aware of a magnetic presence. He enters with a dignified calm, unpretentious, a man with a single mission. The delivery is profound yet contained. His focus is within the music, never on himself. His objective is always to serve the composer."
The Scotsman, November 2015
"John Lill is, without a doubt, one of the finest pianists at work today and his undemonstrative appearance on the stage belies a fiercely passionate and romantic temperament."
Seen and Heard International, October 2010
Unanimously described as one of the leading pianists of his generation, John Lill's career spans over 55 years, during which time he has given over 4,000 concerts. Lill originally studied at the Royal College of Music and with Wilhelm Kempff. His rare talent emerged at an early age, giving his first piano recital at the age of nine. At eighteen he performed Rachmaninov's 3rd piano concerto under Sir Adrian Boult, immediately followed by his much-acclaimed London début playing Beethoven's 'Emperor' piano concerto at the Royal Festival Hall. His early career flourished and was enhanced by many prestigious international prizes and awards. In 1970 he won the most coveted of these: the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition, further consolidating his already busy international concert schedule. Since then he has given concerts in over fifty countries, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras.
John Lill's extensive repertoire includes more than eighty concertos, and he is acclaimed in particular as a leading interpreter of Beethoven, whose complete sonata cycle he has performed on several occasions in the UK, USA and Japan. In Britain he has given over 25 London Promenade concerts and regularly appears with all the major symphony orchestras. He has toured overseas with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham, Hallé, Royal Scottish National and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras.
He regularly performs in the European capitals, Russia, the Far East, South America, Australasia, (including several ABC tours) and he is a frequent visitor to the United States, where he has worked with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic and the Orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Rochester, San Diego, Seattle and Washington.
More recently John Lill has performed with the St Petersburg, Rotterdam, Royal Stockholm, Czech, Oslo, London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Hallé Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Russia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tonkünstler Orchestra and RTVE Orchestra Madrid, together with the Vancouver, Seattle, Indianapolis, Bournemouth, Royal Scottish National and Sapporo Symphony Orchestras. He also regularly gives recitals throughout the UK and Europe, USA, China, Russia, Japan and Australia. In celebration of his 70th Birthday, the 2013-14 season saw John embark on much acclaimed Beethoven complete sonata cycles in London and Manchester, as well as recitals at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Warsaw’s Philharmonic Hall and the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonia. He also returned to Moscow to perform all the Beethoven concertos with the National Philharmonic of Russia and Vladimir Spivakov. More recently John has given concerts with the Tchaikovsky Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, as well as a UK tour with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and extensive solo tours. The 2016-17season sees John perform with the Orquestra Simfonica de Barcelona and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw. He will also be reuniting with the St Petersburg Philharmonic in Edinburgh as well as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
John Lill has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (Brahms solo works and second piano concerto), EMI (Complete Beethoven piano concertos with RSNO and Gibson), ASV (both Brahms piano concertos with the Hallé and Loughran plus the complete Beethoven sonatas) and Pickwick Records (Tchaikovsky first concerto with the LSO and Judd). More recently he has recorded the complete Prokofiev sonatas with ASV and his recording of the complete Beethoven Bagatelles and piano concertos with the CBSO and Weller is available on Chandos. He recorded Malcolm Arnold's Fantasy on a Theme of John Field (dedicated to John Lill) with the RPO and Handley for Conifer and the complete Rachmaninov concertos and solo piano works for Nimbus Records. His recent recording projects have been with EMI (piano works by Schumann) and Signum Records (works by Brahms and Schumann plus Haydn piano sonatas).
John Lill has been awarded many Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships from British Universities, Colleges and Academies. He lives in London and was awarded the OBE in 1977 and the CBE for his services to music in the 2005 New Year’s Honours’ List.
Please check with Terry Shew before publishing this biography.