• Born 1959
Often appears with
Pianist Louis Lortie achieved international recognition by his mid-twenties. His strong, sensitively crafted playing has served him well in a repertory of considerable breadth, with a concentration on composers from the late Classical period to the early 20th century.
Lortie was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 27, 1959. After studying with Yvonne Hubert, he made his first professional public appearance as a soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra when he was 13 years old. Wisely, he elected not to pursue a concert career immediately. After winning first prize in Canada's two premier competitions, the Canadian National Music Competition and the CBC National Competition, when he was 16, Lortie made what he considers his official debut with the Toronto Symphony in 1978 and joined the orchestra in a subsequent tour of Japan and the People's Republic of China. While in his early twenties, he moved to Baltimore to work with Leon Fleisher and expand his knowledge of piano literature.
In 1984, Lortie won first prize in the Busoni International Competition and was also a prizewinner at the Leeds Piano Competition. Following his exposure to European culture and the recognition resulting from his successes in competition, Lortie undertook a more extensive number of concert engagements and released his first recording in 1986. Within the first few years of an active career, Lortie performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His engagements included dates with the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester, and the Orchestre National de France. With the latter ensemble, he performed on tour. Lortie has performed for several summers with the Montréal Symphony in a program series devoted to a single composer. Complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas have been given throughout the world.
Few pianists have enjoyed such a long-term and mutually satisfying relationship with a recording company as that existing between Lortie and Chandos. Lortie has been allowed to preserve his interpretations of composers extending from Mozart to Ligeti. Among them is his collection of the complete piano works of Ravel, a set that has received several awards, the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, and the complete works for piano and orchestra by Liszt. His recordings of Chopin's Preludes and Etudes are also of particular interest. In 2020, Lortie released the second volume in his survey of Saint-Saëns works for piano and orchestra, with Edward Gardner and the BBC Philharmonic.
Lortie has taught at the piano institute at Imola, Italy, when his schedule has allowed, he is the co-founder and artistic director of the LacMus International Festival in Tremezzina, Italy, and he is a master in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels. Lortie was honored by being made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.