John Lill CBE (born 17 March 1944, London) is an English classical pianist. Unanimously described as one of the leading pianists of his generation, John Lill's concert career spans over 55 years. He has given concerts in over fifty countries, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with the world's greatest orchestras. His rare talent emerged at an early age - he gave his first piano recital at the age of nine. At eighteen he performed Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto under Sir Adrian Boult, immediately followed by his much-acclaimed London début playing 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.
John Lill's extensive repertoire includes more than eighty 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 London Promenade concerts and regularly appears with all the major symphony orchestras. He has toured overseas with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham, Hallé, Royal Scottish National and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras.
He regularly performs in all the European capitals, 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.
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, Tonkünstler Orchestra and RTVE Orchestra Madrid, together with the Vancouver, Seattle, Indianapolis, Bournemouth, Royal Scottish National and Sapporo Symphony Orchestras. He also regularly gives recitals throughout the UK and Europe, USA, China, Russia, Japan and Australia. The 13-14 season saw John embark on a much acclaimed Beethoven Sonata Cycle in London and Manchester, in celebration of his 70th Birthday, as well as recitals at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall and the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonia. He also returned to Moscow to perform all the Beethoven Concerti with the National Philharmonic of Russia and Vladimir Spivakov. Highlights of the 14-15 season include concerts with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, as well as a recital tour of Japan and a return visit to the Teatro Mayor in Santo Domingo in Columbia.
John Lill has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI (Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with RSNO and Gibson), ASV (both Brahms Concertos with the Hallé and Loughran) plus the complete Beethoven Sonatas and Pickwick Records (Tchaikovsky l with the LSO and Judd). More recently he has recorded the complete Prokofiev sonatas 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 and Handley for Conifer and the complete Rachmaninov Concertos and major solo piano works for Nimbus Records. His most recent recording projects have been the 60th birthday release of piano works by Schumann on the Classics for Pleasure label and 2 new releases for Signum records of Schumann and Brahms and Haydn Piano Sonatas.
John Lill has been awarded many Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships from British Universities, Colleges and Academies. He lives in London and was awarded the OBE in 1977 and the CBE for his services to music in the 2005 New Year’s Honours’ List.
- Biography of John Lill on World Concert Artist Directory
- Biography of John Lill on Sanctuary Classics site