Louis Lortie, pianist (b at Montréal 27 Apr 1959). Lortie's major piano instructors were Yvonne Hubert and Marc Durand in Québec, Dieter Weber in Austria and Menahem Pressler and Leon Fleisher in the US. He distinguished himself in several competitions, including the Busoni international competition (Italy, first prize, 1984) and the Leeds international piano competition (GB, fourth prize, 1984). He was invited to join the TORONTO SYMPHONY for its 1978 tour of Japan and the People's Republic of China, and returned to China in 1983. Following these historic tours, Lortie became the only pianist since Glenn GOULD to be selected for representation by Walter Homburger, the eminent Toronto-based impresario.
The Canada Council gave Lortie its Virginia P. Moore Award in 1984, the Conseil des arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal awarded him its Grand Prix in 1986 and the Canadian Music Council named him "performer of the year" in 1987. He was named to the ORDER OF CANADA in 1992 and appointed an Officer in 1995.
A pianist whose interpretations reveal strong personality and impeccable technique, Lortie has established himself not only as one of Canada's foremost pianists but also as one of his generation's outstanding musicians in any discipline. He has performed with the world's leading orchestras, participated in several top international festivals, and made over 30 recordings for the Chandos label ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky, many of which have been awarded international prizes. Recent releases include all the works for piano and orchestra by Liszt with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, the Franck Symphonic Variations with the BBC Philharmonic, and, as a soloist, the complete piano sonata cycle of Beethoven. In 2010 Lortie released the first volume of a new Chopin series on Chandos, while Years 1 and 3 of Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage and a disc of the composer's transcriptions are planned for 2011. In 2010 Lortie was nominated for a Juno Award for his recording of the Mendelssohn Piano Concertos 1 & 2, with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, released on the ATMA Classique label.
Louis Lortie's interests also involve chamber music projects; he founded the Lortie-Berick-Lysy Trio in 1995, and has conducted large instrumental ensembles such as the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto.