John Lill CBE (born 17 March 1944, London) is an English classical pianist. John Lill's concert career spans over 55 years. He originally studied at the Royal College of Music and with Wilhelm Kempff. His first piano recital was at the age of nine and at 18, he performed Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto under Sir Adrian Boult. This was immediately followed by his much-acclaimed London debut, performing 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 (ex aequo with Vladimir Krainev), further consolidating his already busy international concert schedule.
Unanimously described as the leading British pianist of his generation, John Lill's career has taken him to over 50 countries, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras and conductors. He regularly performs in all the European capitals (including Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm and Vienna), 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.
John Lill's extensive repertoire exceeds 80 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 BBC Promenade concerts and regularly appears with all the major symphony orchestras. He has made many overseas tours with British orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham, Hallé, Royal Scottish National and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras.
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 and RTVE Orchestra Madrid, together with the Vancouver, Seattle, Indianapolis, Bournemouth, Royal Scottish National and Sapporo Symphony Orchestras. He also gave recitals throughout the UK and Europe, USA, Russia, Japan and Australia. The forthcoming season includes return visits to these countries in addition to other musical centres, including Warsaw, Beijing and Hong Kong. He will also be performing the complete Beethoven's sonata cycle in London and Manchester.
John Lill has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (Brahms), EMI (Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with RSNO/Gibson), ASV (the complete Beethoven Sonatas and both Brahms Concertos with the Hallé/Loughran and Pickwick Records (Tchaikovsky l with the LSO /Judd). More recently he has recorded the complete Prokofiev sonatas/solo music with ASV and his recent 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 RPO/Handley for Conifer and the complete Rachmaninov Concertos and major solo piano works for Nimbus Records. His most recent recording projects have included his 60th birthday release of piano works by Schumann on the CFP label and his recordings for Signum of Schumann/Brahms and Haydn Piano Sonatas have won great praise.
He has been awarded many Honorary Doctorates from British Universities and Fellowships from the leading music Colleges and Academies. He was made an OBE in 1978 and awarded the CBE for his services to music in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List.
- Fiachra Gibbons, "Robbers slash pianist's hands". The Guardian, 2 August 2000.
- Sandra Laville, "Muggers attack pianist who played for Queen Mother". Telegraph, 2 August 2000.
- Stephen Moss, "Play on". The Guardian, 4 August 2000.
- Tom Lappin, "Classical master's birthday treats". The Times, 28 March 2004.
- Biography of John Lill on World Concert Artist Directory
- Biography of John Lill on Sanctuary Classics site