• Born 1965
Often appears with
Compact in physical size and lacking the long fingers usually expected of a virtuoso pianist, Lilya Zilberstein nonetheless has made a powerful impression with connoisseurs of fine piano performance. By the age of 30, she had already become one of the world's finest pianists. Born in Russia and trained in the tradition of her great predecessors, Zilberstein relocated to Germany and pursues an active career in the West, performing throughout Europe and North America. Several recording made for Deutsche Grammophon have drawn enthusiastic reviews, advancing her reputation and preserving some memorable interpretations.
Zilberstein received extensive schooling at the Gnesin Special Music School, training with Ada Traub from 1971 to 1983, thereafter moving on to work with Alexander Satz at the same institution and continuing under his tutelage until 1990. In Russia, she took first prize in numerous piano competitions. Winning first prize at the Busoni Competition in 1987 resulted in Zilberstein's German debut at a 1988 concert in Munich and a handsome contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Concerts elsewhere followed in quick succession, including solo appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, RAI Symphony of Turin, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, the Danish National Radio Orchestra, the MDR Orchestra of Leipzig, the Montreal Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony under James Levine. She has also become a favorite at the Peninsula Music Festival, having been engaged for multiple performances with music director Viktor Yampolsky over the course of three seasons.
In addition to orchestral appearances, Zilberstein has presented recitals in many of the world's musical capitals. She has won acclaim in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Rotterdam, and Florence, among other cities. Zilberstein moved to Hamburg in 1990, residing there with her husband and two sons; they may be observed traveling with her when school schedules do not interfere.
Among Zilberstein's several excellent recordings are her imaginative reading of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a bravura coupling of Rachmaninoff's Second and Third piano concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Claudio Abbado, and a technically strong yet lyrically inflected Grieg Piano Concerto with Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Loathe to add a distracting element of glamour to her stage deportment, Zilberstein is all business in addressing the keyboard. Sitting erect and offering no extraneous gestures, she is content to put all of her concentration into the music she performs. Only when she has finished does she relax a bit and allow the audience to see her melting smile. Audiences have responded to her exciting and detailed performances in a fashion exemplified by a Montreal critic who praised her April 16, 2002, performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 by citing her "virtuosity and nuanced palette."