Martha de Francisco, Schulich Sound Recording Professor records piano prodigy Jan Lisiecki in Toronto
PIANO PRODIGY ON EDGE OF GREATNESS
Jan Lisiecki, 17, seated at the Steinway in Koerner Hall in Toronto, stared fixedly at the back of his left hand as he might a curio he found by chance in an antique shop. That hand had just served him surprisingly well in the roaring fortissimo scales that interrupt Chopin's otherwise lyrical Étude Op. 25 No. 7. It was one of 343 takes recorded over four days under the supervision of the recording producer (and McGill professor) Martha de Francisco. She confirms that the remarkably poised work of Day 4 "will most probably" make the final cut of Lisiecki's recording of the complete Op. 10 and Op. 25 Études for Deutsche Grammophon. "He did not show any signs of microphone fear," she says of the Calgarian, who, though enrolled as a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, still lives at home. "He was at ease on the stage, concentrated, full of energy, making music."